UPDATE 1-German police clash with anti-nuclear activists

* Violence erupts near nuclear waste dump

* Anger at Merkel’s extending nuclear power use

* Activists attempt to slow nuclear waste convoys

(Updates with details on violence in paragraphs 5-8)

By Annika Breidthardt

DANNENBERG, Germany, Nov 7 (BestGrowthStock) – German police used
truncheons and teargas on Sunday to clear a rail line as they
clashed with anti-nuclear activists trying to disrupt a shipment
of nuclear waste heading to a storage dump.

A police spokesman said some 250 activists had tried to
damage the track near the waste dump to halt a train carrying
the nuclear material. When police tried to stop them, the
activists responded using flare guns and a chemical spray that
caused eyes to tear up.

“The situation is not yet under control,” another police
spokesman said.

Riot police used truncheons, teargas and water cannon
to stop the violent activists, who were part of a larger group
of about 4,000 protesters near the town of Leitstade trying to
halt the train.

A small fire was started under an armoured police vehicle
and it was seen smouldering in images broadcast on German
television. Police said activists had poured tar on it and
thrown small petrol bombs at the vehicle.

Police repeatedly tried to stop activists from removing
gravel under the rail tracks. Some police were pushed and shoved
from behind as they tried to carry activists away.

The helmet-clad police also were seen in broadcast images
punching activists and hitting them with truncheons.

“Those who resort to violence against police officials have
to expect us to respond accordingly,” a police spokeswoman told
N-TV television, saying there had been “massive acts of violence
against police” on Sunday.

About a dozen protesters were injured, demonstrators were
quoted as saying in local media reports. Police could not
confirm any injuries.

The waste shipment has become a tense political issue due to
anger over Chancellor Angela Merkel’s decision to extend the
lifespan of Germany’s 17 nuclear power plants despite
overwhelming public opposition.

The waste originated in Germany and was reprocessed at the
French nuclear group Areva’s processing plant at La Hague for
storage in a site in the northern German town of Gorleben.

The train was held up repeatedly on its way across France
and Germany on a journey that began on Friday. In Germany
thousands staged sit-down strikes on tracks and others lowered
themselves on ropes from bridges to prevent the train from
passing. They were removed by police.

The shipment is expected to arrive in Gorleben, near the
central town of Dannenberg, later on Sunday.

Merkel’s government has slumped in popularity due largely to
its decision to extend nuclear power by about 12 years beyond
the original shutdown set for 2021. Germany gets 23 percent of
its power from nuclear plants.

Scenes of violence during previous shipments have
contributed to Germany’s strong anti-nuclear mood.

Protesters fear the depot at Gorleben, built as an interim
storage site, could become permanent. Greenpeace says the site,
in a disused salt mine, would be unsafe over the long term.

(Writing by Erik Kirschbaum; editing by Michael Roddy)

UPDATE 1-German police clash with anti-nuclear activists