INTRODUCTION: In West Germany, police have been engaged in a battle of nerves with citizens of Frankfurt who oppose a plan to lay down a third runway at the city's airport.
FRANKFURT, WEST GERMANY (VISNEWS - GUENTER LAHMANN)
GV PAN Tractor digging road for runway. (2 SHOTS)
CU Protesters PULL BACK TO GV protesters' camp
GV Soldiers taking to protesters over barbedwire fence
CU PULL BACK TO GV Riot equipment and protesters
CU PULL BACK TO GV Soldier talking to girls protester
GV Riot police set up barbed-wire fence. (2 SHOTS)
SV & GV Riot police spray protesters with water as helicopter flies overhead. (3 SHOTS)
GV Water cannon and tear gas being used on protesters. (7 SHOTS)
Background: INTRODUCTION: In West Germany, police have been engaged in a battle of nerves with citizens of Frankfurt who oppose a plan to lay down a third runway at the city's airport. Tension erupted into clashes on Friday (9 October) when riot police turned on water cannon and used tear gas in an effort to remove demonstrators from their entrenched positions at the edge of the airport.
SYNOPSIS: The airport authority wants to push the runway three miles (4.8 kilometres) into nearby woodlands. They would fell some three million oak trees, spruce and beeches, destroying the last intact forest south-west of the city.
Airport noise would greatly increase. The protesters had set up makeshift camp, with rickety watchtowers and earthern ramparts. They turn deaf ears to the airport authority's claim that the existing airport is overloaded at peak periods, and in danger of losing valuable traffic to Paris and Amsterdam airports if the third runway is not built.
During the last 15 years, some 70 civic action groups and organisations have fought, and lost, 104 different court cases. They have collected 174,000 signatures, more than enough to call a referendum that could still end the project. After the protesters dug their fortress across the path of bulldozers, thousands of police were brought in from all over West Germany. They had quietly closed in for three days before these struggles broke out. Observers felt more battles would ensue before this long-simmering issue is finally resolved, one way or another.
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