West German police today moved against antinuclear protestors near the small town of Gorleben, carrying off an estimated 2,500 demonstrators, then bulldozing the makeshift village that had been built atop a potential nuclear storage site.
No serious injuries were reported -- a fact officials attributed to the generally nonviolent resistance offered by the demonstrators.
The Gorleben village had become a central rallying ground for West Germany's large antinuclear movement during the past month. By establishing a primitive colony, the protesters had sought to prevent federal engineers from test-drilling a salt dome underneath for likely use as a nuclear garbage dump.
About 3,000 helmeted police carrying protective shields and backed by water cannon converged on the village early today.
Demonstrators refused a final request by officials to leave. They simply sat down and began singing protest songs.
As a dozen government helicopters circled low overhead, police lifted or dragged the demonstrators off the site. They leveled the 50-odd wooden huts and tents, then strung barbed wire around the area. By late afternoon, only a few protestors remained, perched atop tall wooden platforms, temporarily out of easy police reach.
Journalists were excluded by officials from witnessing the entire operation -- an action that prompted protests to Bonn's Interior Ministry.
Authorities have promised public hearings before deciding on the suitability of the site after the engineering tests are completed.