The scene, caught on video, was one of several clashes between protesters and security forces in recent days as authorities razed the western German hamlet of Lutzerath to the ground. To expand a gap open pit coal mine.
Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg, one of hundreds of protesters who traveled to the area to demonstrate, was arrested by police for a second time on Tuesday. According to all remaining villages, a group fighting to demolish villages to make way for coal mines. Photos and videos showed Thunberg being escorted by police.
But as of Tuesday, little was left of Lutzerath, and activists occupying its buildings had been evicted, said David Dresen, a resident of the area and an activist with the group. “There’s nothing to save,” he said.
The village became a symbol of Germany’s decline in fossil fuels as the war in Ukraine cut off supplies of cheap natural gas from Russia. Activists argue that mining coal under Lützerath shows that Germany does not care about its climate responsibilities and highlights the hypocrisy of Europe’s largest economy.
In the days since the village was largely destroyed, activists have continued their demonstrations, trying to block roads into the mine and climbing its huge excavators to prevent its use.
“Message: It’s not about Lutzerath; It never was,” Dressen said. “It’s about coal. Although Lützerath has fallen, we are still trying to close the mine.
The Garzweiler II mine, operated by energy company RWE, extracts 25 million tonnes of lignite per year. Tens of thousands of residents have been displaced by excavations.
“Germany now embarrasses itself” Thunberg told reporters week end. “I think it’s absolutely ridiculous that this is happening in 2023.”
Demolition continued despite Germany’s pledge to phase out coal by 2030, eight years ahead of schedule. In an agreement with the government last year, RWE was allowed to dig under Lützerath, but agreed not to demolish five other villages and to stop mining early.
Some climate activists have camped in the village for more than two years, occupying the 18th-century farmhouse and its outbuildings after the last farmer left.
But after the land was legally transferred to RWE, the courts ensured that the activists had to go. Police started clearing the area Last week, the protesters were pulled out of the buildings and their wooden houses were removed.
Additional activists, including Dunberg, arrived over the weekend to bolster the resistance effort.
Activists accused the police of using excessive force to disperse their demonstrations. A video He showed the baton to the police Allegation against the protestors.
North Rhine-Westphalia’s interior minister, Herbert Riuhl, told a weekend talk show that he believed police forces were “highly professional” but that allegations of police use of excessive force would be investigated.
“The core of the conflict in Lützerath is not between the interior minister and activists, but between society and fossil destruction,” he tweeted. Fridays for future activist Louisa Neubauer. “Climate conflicts are not resolved by policing or criminalizing committed citizens. They are resolved by delivering on climate promises quickly and fairly.