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Talks fail to halt Stuttgart rail protests

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Talks fail to halt Stuttgart rail protests


Talks between supporters and opponents of controversial plans to make Stuttgart an international rail hub have failed to deter protesters.

Three weeks after scores were injured in clashes with police, another demonstration was due to take place on Monday evening. The chief mediator says building work to overhaul the German city’s central station will be halted during the talks.

“I am curious to know what will be the outcome of the mediation, said one woman who opposes the multi-billion euro scheme, known as Stuttgart 21. “I hope that it will be a result we can live with.”

Another Stuttgart resident was sceptical that the talks would have much effect. “I can’t imagine that there will be a big change, that it will be stopped completely,” he said. “What can be done is to change some details about the railway that people are demanding.”

The mediation process is being aired live on TV and the internet. It has been described as a “democratic experiment” by the man leading the discussions, a veteran politician from Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats.

The Chancellor backs the project but has called for transparency over its cost.

Stuttgart 21 is a massive scheme to make the city part of a high-speed rail route from Paris to Budapest. The main terminus will be turned into an underground through-station, dramatically altering the city centre.

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