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May Day In Germany: Nuclear Non-proliferation Talks; Street Protests; Arrests On Terror Charges …

  • May 1st, 2011
  • Posted by EUEditor

nuclear-plant_grafenrheinfeld.jpgA seemingly odd group of ten countries, one of them Australia, has launched a fresh move to try to curtail nuclear armament, at a gathering of their Foreign Ministers in Berlin.

Around the corner, in the German capital, protesters were gearing up for their annual May Day parades, along with counterparts in many other German cities; some fighting had already started in Hamburg between left-wing and extreme right groups; and the police grabbed three men, at Dusseldorf and Bochum, charging them with preparing a terrorist attack.  


The ten countries against nuclear proliferation  – Australia, Canada, Chile, Germany, Japan, the Netherlands,  Mexico, Poland, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates – .have in common  that they are not nuclear powers.

They have their diverse angles on nuclear industry and arms, whether as uranium producers, former (or present) hosts of other governments’ nuclear weapons systems, or engagement in the global energy industry.

They formed themselves as the Friends of the Non-proliferation Treaty, last year, declaring for effective controls on nuclear fuels, as the way to block the spread of arms.

They say it is not enough to have the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and the  Nuclear Test Ban Treaty; these need to be actively enforced; more countries need to sign them, and they should be backed up by a revival of the strict and comprehensive Geneva Disarmament Convention.

On Sunday (1.5.11), the Australian Foreign Minister, Kevin Rudd, said there had been “far too little” progress on non-proliferation.

His Japanese counterpart, Take-aki Matsu-moto, reflecting on problems back home, at Fukushima, reiterated the position of authorities there that the answer to threats of an industrial catastrophe would be a strengthening of safety practices.


Left wing movements in Germany have a tradition of robust street protest, especially on May Day – in 2011, this day, Monday 2nd.

Most participants have an adamant opposition that if the extreme right turn up, they should be immediately attacked.

It is a situation which leads to disturbances, with just some such trouble in the streets of Hamburg, things getting off to an early start on Saturday night – garbage was set on fire, paint bombs thrown, and eleven on the leftist side arrested.


Police in Dusseldorf said they moved early on Friday morning to arrest two men who’d been under electronic surveillance, after they started talking about an attack to follow the café bombing at Marrakesh on Thursday.

A third man was picked up later at Bochum.

The assumed leader of the group, an illegal immigrant from Morocco, aged 29, was believed to have spent time in an al-Qaeda training camp in Northern Pakistan.

The others were a man with dual German and Moroccan citizenship, 31, and a student, 19, with dual German-Iranian citizenship.

Charges were being prepared for court appearances in Karlsruhe, with police preparing to state the men were making a bomb and wanted to use it against crowds in the street.


Xinhua, Beijing, “Berlin meeting focuses on nuclear safety”, 1.5.11., (2.5.11).

Gregg Benzow (dpa,AP), Kyle James, “Ten nations urge new push for non-proliferation”, Deutsche Welle, Bonn, 1.5.11.,,15041365,00.html, (2.5.11).

Jack Ewing, “German Terrorism Arrests Disrupt Qaeda Inquiry”, NYT. NY, 30.4.11., (2.5.11).

Stuart Tiffen (dpa, AFP), Nicole Goebel, “German police brace for May Day riots”, 1.5.11., (2.5.11).