More than 200,000 Germans all over the country marched against nuclear power on Saturday.
Nuclear power is bitterly opposed by Germany’s strong green movement and public opinion supports them. Minds have been focused by the Japanese disaster. Many banners warned Fukushima could happen closer to home.
The march comes the day ahead of a key regional election, and the Greens want all Germany’s 17 reactors closed down. Just five months ago, Chancellor Angela Merkel announced their working lives would be extended by an average of 12 years, but after Fukushima she did a u-turn and ordered the temporary closure of the oldest.
“These things have to go! There are enough alternatives and I’d rather save some electricity than have these nuclear plants in our country, in Europe, or anywhere else in the world,” said one man in Cologne.
Using World Water Day as a pretext, nuclear sceptics also marched in Rome, protesting at government plans to build new reactors, a decision that was suspended for a year this week following the Fukushima disaster. Italy holds a referendum on the issue on June 12th.