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Germans Protest Nuclear Power

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, right, and Vice Chancellor Guido Westerwelle, left, address the media during a joint news conference Berlin, Germany, March 12, 2011

In the background of growing concern about the risk posed by Japan's earthquake-damaged nuclear reactors, thousands of Germans have protested against a government plan to extend its reliance on nuclear power as an energy source.

Organizers say tens of thousands of people formed a 45-kilometer-long human chain Saturday between a nuclear plant at Neckarwestheim and the southern city of Stuttgart, an industrial hub.

Activists at the rally voiced strong opposition to Germany's decision last year to keep its 17 nuclear plants running for an average of 12 extra years.

On Saturday, the main opposition Social Democrats used the accident in Japan to call for a change in Germany's nuclear policy.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has argued in favor of nuclear energy.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.