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Thousands in Germany Protest Nuclear Power

Anti-nuclear demonstrators march in Cologne, western Germany, March 26, 2011, to protest against nuclear power

Thousands of people have taken to the streets in cities across Germany on Saturday to demand an end to nuclear power in the country.

The demonstrators were motivated by the nuclear crisis in Japan, where an earthquake and tsunami-damaged nuclear reactor is leaking radiation into the atmosphere.

Organizers say more than 200,000 people turned out for the demonstrations in the nation's four largest cities, each protest urging Germany's leaders to abolish to nuclear power plants.

Police said more than 100,000 protesters turned out in Berlin alone. Marches also took place in Hamburg, Cologne and Munich.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said earlier this month that Germany would speed up its move to renewable energy sources, as it evaluated the safety of its nuclear power plants.

Merkel also has said Germany will temporarily close seven of its aging nuclear power plants pending a safety review, in light of the crisis in Japan.

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