27 arrested in Stuttgart rail scheme protest

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27 arrested in Stuttgart rail scheme protest

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The latest of several protests in Stuttgart against the German city’s multi-billion euro renovation scheme has again attracted thousands of people.

It was largely peaceful but late in the evening 27 demonstrators were arrested, accused of blocking a road.

The project “Stuttgart 21” aims to turn the main rail terminus into an underground through-station. It would enable the city to become an international transport hub. Stuttgart would join one of Europe’s major high-speed rail routes, linking Paris, Strasbourg and Munich, and on to Vienna, Bratislava and Budapest.

Talks failed to halt early demolition work to part of the station.

Critics challenge the cost which has soared from the original estimate of around four billion euros. They also want more debate on traffic issues and alternative solutions.

The scheme’s supporters argue it would transform Stuttgart into “the new heart of Europe”, attracting thousand of jobs.

But the row is threatening to fuel more widespread dissent. Some opponents see it as a deal cut by business leaders and politicians and flying in the face of public opinion.

In the words of one local academic, Stuttgart 21 has become a symbol for the “arrogance of power”.