Anti-nuclear human chain to link 200 kms between Lyon and Avignon
Thousands of people are expected to come together on Sunday to form a human chain covering the 200 kilometres between the French cities of Lyon and Avignon as part of an anti-nuclear protest organized by the pressure group Sortir du Nucléaire. The demonstration comes one year after the deadly Japanese tsunami which caused the disaster at the Fukushima nuclear plant.
Several politicians are expected to take part in the event including the Green Party’s presidential candidate Eva Joly and ecologist Corinne Lepage, the presidential candidate for the CAP21 party.
The organizers claim that one year after Fukishima, the Japanese nuclear reactors continue to emit dangerous levels of radiation which will contaminate the region for thousands of years to come.
“Exactly one year later, on 11 March, 2012, let’s act and stand together to denounce the risk of a nuclear catastrophe in France and say aloud that a nuclear phase out is possible,” the organizers said in a statement.
The anti-nuclear movement says it was because of street protests in Germany that Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government decided to close the country’s nuclear reactors by 2022.
François Hollande, the Socialist Party presidential candidate, has promised to reduce from 75 per cent to 50 per cent the amount of electricity produced by nuclear plants. He also says he will close a significant part of the Fessenheim plant which is the country’s oldest nuclear centre.
His rival, current president Nicolas Sarkozy, is a strong supporter of nuclear power and says he has no plans to close Fessenheim.
On Saturday, the plant was the focus of protest by some 700 anti-nuclear demonstrators who want the centre to be closed. At the same time, around 60 workers at the plant demonstrated against its closure and as a sign of solidarity with the Japanese people.