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The Independent Online
Greenpeace activists clashing with riot police near Cherbourg yesterday as they try to stop a cargo of radioactive nuclear waste due to leave the port for Japan. A French court later issued an order fining anyone 300,000 francs (£38,000) if they interfered with the cargo. The environmental organisation described the injunction as a "significant attack against the right of expression and protest in France". Greenpeace noted that the ruling did not prevent it from following the cargo by sea to its destination, but called for the appeal to be heard before the British- registered Pacific Pintail, leaves Cherbourg tomorrow.

The injunction was granted to British Nuclear Fuels and the ship's operators, Pacific Nuclear Transport. It ordered Greenpeace, which intends to shadow the British vessel with its own ship Moby Dick, from approaching it, blockading it in French territorial waters or interfering with the loading of its cargo of reprocessed waste. The lawyer for the British company, Jean de Hautecloque, hailed the injunction as "lawful and courageous". Dominique Voynet, the Green candidate in France's presidential elections in April and May, denounced the ruling a "denial of justice,"

Photograph: Jacky Naegelen/Reuter