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anti-akw 4.3.1998 

Gorleben International Peace Team

Ahaus: Update No. 2

News From Ahaus

Local Teachers Condemn CASTOR Transport

Late last week nearly 350 teachers from Ahaus and the surrounding area publicly declared their opposition to the upcoming CASTOR (high-level radioactive waste) transport to the Temporary Storage Facility (BEZ) near Ahaus:

As teachers we have a strong responsibility to our youth and their future, which is why we cannot remain silent. As public employees, we are committed to the basic laws of our democratic government's constitution. These basic laws, however, are threatened when politicians' decisions endanger the lives of future generations, or when politicians break their promise to the people and cast doubt on our political system. We therefore declare our solidarity with all persons who nonviolently protest or block ade the CASTOR transport to Ahaus, and if possible we will take active part in such protests ourselves.

Nordhein-Westfallen Secretary of the Interior Declares Blockade Actions a Criminal Offence

Franz-Josef Kniola, Secretary of the Interior for the German state of Nordhein-Westfalen, has declared that all protest actions against the CASTOR transport which involve blockading the railway will be considered a criminal offence. This declaration is in violation with a ruling made by the German Constitutional Court, and is also a direct contradiction of a statement made earlier by Muenster Police President Hubert Wimber. Wimber, who is responsible for the transport's police protection, had stated in a public meeting with activist groups that peaceful blockade actions would be officially treated as disturbances of the peace, as long as there is no property damage involved (this has been police policy during other anti-CASTOR demonstrations as well).

Kniola's statement was criticized by the Green Party, which is hoping to use a policy of understanding and good communication to help de-escalate conflicts during the demonstrations at Ahaus. According to the Greens, peacefully blockading the CASTOR railway is a form of civil disobedience and should not be considered a criminal act. The BI-Ahaus also criticized Kniola, claiming that his declaration, as with the planned ban on public gatherings near the BEZ during the transport, is a blatant attempt to c riminalize and defame the anti-nuclear movement.

CASTORs to Roll on March 25?

German press sources announced Feb. 27 that the CASTOR transport is planned to arrive in Ahaus sometime on Wednesday, March 25. The date cannot yet be definitely confirmed, as the government attempts to keep the exact transport date secret for as long as possible. Activist groups have already announced several big actions that will take place before the week the transport is expected to arrive (March 23 to 27):

On March 15, a Sunday Walk action has been organized by the BI Ahaus. The attendance at this action is hoped to exceed the 4000 who participated in the previous Sunday Walk in February.

On March 21, a large rally will take place in Muenster. After the rally, a convoy will leave Muenster for the demonstrator camps at Ahaus.

On March 22, a nonviolent action training is being offered to all demonstrators who are interested.

Eight demonstrator camps have been organized, all of which will be governed by consensus. Hot food, dry clothing, medical and legal assistance, information, art and cultural programs are among what the camps have to offer.

For more information about planned demonstrations, contact Scott Shively or (for information in German) visit the BI-Ahaus Website.

Protests Planned at Nuclear Plant Neckarwestheim

Demonstrations are being planned at the nuclear power plant Neckarwestheim in southwestern Germany. Three of the six CASTORs which are to be transported to Ahaus will be coming from Neckarwestheim, and local activists are planning blockade actions on the railway leading from the plant. The actions will most likely take place on March 20, when the CASTORs are expected to be loaded onto a train and joined by three more CASTORs from the Gundremmingen (south-central Germany) plant. A large attendance is not expected at the demonstrations, due to the fact that the local population is not very sympathetic to the anti-nuclear movement, and that many activists will be at the demonstrations in Ahaus.

GIPT-Ahaus Team Status

The GIPT-Ahaus team now consists of four persons:

Hanne Beittel, Germany
Scott Shively, USA
Jacqueline Niyorugira, Burundi
Bill Beittel, USA

However, we are still hoping to add at least two more members. The team will be present in Ahaus from approximately March 15 until the end of the demonstrations, after which it will publish a report of its observations.

International Support

Several human rights, peace, and ecological organisations inside and outside Europe have openly announced their support for GIPT-Ahaus. More international support for the project is needed, however, to make it as effective as possible. Supporting organizations and individuals would be kept informed of GIPT's actions and of the developing situation in Ahaus, and may be called upon to protest human and civil rights abuses, or to raise awareness in their local settings. If you or your organization is inte rested in supporting the GIPT-Ahaus project, please contact Scott Shively at the address given at the end of this email for more information.

The following organizations are official supporters of GIPT-Ahaus:

FIAM, Ecuador
Nuclear Information and Research Service, USA
Concern for Children and Environment, Nepal
Brethren Service, USA
Center for Education and Networking in Nonviolent Action, Germany

Financial Support Needed!

The projected cost of GIPT-Ahaus is estimated to be approximately DM 10 000 (around $ 6000). As of yet, only a third of these costs have been covered. Please send donations in the form of bank cheques, or transfer donations directly into our Giro account (Account No. 6001333 at KSK Wustrow, BLZ (bank number) 25851335). THANKS!

For Further Information...

For further information about GIPT or the Ahaus conflict, contact Scott Shively at the address given below.

Scott Shively, GIPT Coordinator
3 March, 1998
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