A transport ship loaded with highly radioactive nuclear waste has continued its journey along a German river after being halted by protesters.
Four activists from the German environmental group Robin Wood abseiled from a bridge over the Neckar river in the town of Bad Wimpfen in southwest Germany, unfurling a banner reading, "Prevent, don't put off."
The stunt halted for several hours the first-ever river transport of atomic waste in Germany while specially trained forces attempted to remove them from the bridge.
They succeeded in capturing two of the four and abseiled with them into a boat, while the remaining two remained hanging from ropes as the ship sailed past them on its way.
"This is a criminal matter. A charge of dangerous interference with traffic and assault awaits the demonstrators," a police spokesman said.
Under a heavy police presence, the special ship carrying three containers of spent fuel set off in the early hours of Wednesday from the closed-down nuclear power station in Obrigheim.
The nuclear waste was scheduled to be transported 50km along the Neckar river to an interim storage site in the town of Neckarwestheim. The journey was supposed to last 12 hours without delays.
Police are following the ship with a helicopter, boats and officers on the banks of the river.
Following the 2011 Fukushima disaster in Japan, Chancellor Angela Merkel vowed Germany, where opposition to nuclear power is strong, would phase out its nuclear stations.
EnBW plans a total of five shipments, each with three containers, to bring a total of 342 spent fuel rods to the interim store.