Berlin: Alarmed by the unfolding nuclear disaster in Japan, ten thousand people took to the streets in four major German cities, demanding an immediate nuclear energy exit and closing down of all atomic power stations in the country.

The organisers of the demonstrations said that over a quarter million protesters took part in rallies and marches in Berlin, Hamburg, Cologne and Munich on Saturday.

The protesters carried banners saying ‘Fukushima warns: close down all reactors and took out demonstrations on the eve of two key state elections in which the nuclear issue is the central theme.

Earlier demonstration was held in Berlin, where over 100,000 people rallied near the Parliament building and afterwards marched near the headquarters of Chancellor Angela Merkel Christian Democratic Union (CDU).

Several speakers at the rally warned about the dangers of nuclear energy and said the tragic events unfolding at the Fukushima atomic power station complex showed that the reactor technology was uncontrollable.

It is estimated that over 50,000 protesters participated in rallies and marches in Hamburg while around 40,000 people took to the streets in Munich.

The demonstrations were organised jointly by several anti-atom initiatives and environmental organisations. They were supported by the Federation of German Trade Unions (DGB), catholic and protestant churches and by intellectuals.

Several leaders of the opposition Social Democratic Party (SPD), the Green Party and the Left Party were also present at the demonstrations.