Friday, October 1, 2010

Continued musings on Robert Fromer: Civil Discourse Interruptus -- Stuttgart, Germany

I sat down at my desk this morning to continue my musings on the proceedings before the Windsor Town Council and specifically the proceedings before the Windsor Inland Wetlands Agency for the past 18 months, described by the town manager, environmental planner and commission members alike as "chaos."

But the tremendous winds blew in the chaos from Stuttgart, Germany where massive demonstrations are underway by a citizens group opposing "Stuttgart 21," an equally massive construction project to move the above-ground main train station underground. The project will necessitate the removal of 282 trees in the Schlossgarten, a centrally located urban park near the train station. The first 25 trees were scheduled to be taken down this morning beginning at dawn.

Peaceful protesters arrived yesterday, followed by others with reports numbering from the tens of thousands up to 100,000 -- the participants range from school age children through retirees. It is reported that one thousand police created a human chain around the 25 trees to be removed today. The interactions between police and protestors escalated in the use by police of pepper spray, tear gas and water. The police report that 26 demonstrators between the ages of 15 and 68 have been arrested and that the German Red Cross has treated 114 wounded demonstrators.

While living in Munich in 1975-76 and Nuremberg in 2003, I traveled through the Stuttgart train stations dozens of time to visit my relatives who live in Stuttgart and villages in the vicinity. The reports of chaos there are heartbreaking.

I will return to civil discourse in Connecticut in another post.

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