The ecological demonstrations continue in the area around Lützerath in North Rhine-Westphalia, the German village designated by the energy company Rwe as a coal mining area. The village has been completely evacuated since yesterday, but for six days it was the scene of clashes between activists and law enforcement officials. Today, demonstrators for climate protectors appeared at various locations near Lützerath, including at the Garzweiler open-cast lignite mine. Also present was the Swedish activist Greta Thunberg.
The group was positioned on the edge of the Garzweiler quarry. Police then removed the environmentalists, including Thunberg, who was dragged away by three officers. Pictures of a smiling Greta being taken away by the police quickly made the rounds in the German and international media. The activists then had to get into a van to be removed from the area. As a spokesman for the Aachen police told ANSA, Thunberg was identified and then released. The other demonstrators felt the same. There would have been no arrests. Thunberg had already been violently moved by some agents during a sit-in near Lützerath last Sunday, as had happened a few days earlier with another well-known climate activist, the German Luisa Neubauer.
Thunberg has been in the Lützerath area since last Friday, when he described Berlin’s decision to mine more coal from 2023 as “absurd” and praised the protests of German ecologists. “We want to show what people’s power is, what democracy is,” he said. Greta also criticized the “scandalous violence” used by police on Friday for the clashes, which sparked controversy and the exchange of allegations between police and protesters. On Saturday, the Swedish activist took part in a large-scale demonstration near Lützerath, which the organizers say was attended by 35,000 people. According to a spokesman, Thunberg has no intention of backing down and will join other protests in the same area. German Economics Minister Robert Habeck of the Greens last week defended the decision to temporarily use the Lützerath site, which had been uninhabited since last year, commenting that it was wrong to choose the village as a “symbol” for the fight against climate change.
However, not all party members agree with his line and some grassroots militants have protested against the leadership. Meanwhile, in an interview with Bloomberg, Chancellor Olaf Scholz underlined how the reactivation of the coal mines, among various measures, has also helped to strengthen the German economy against the energy shock related to the war in Ukraine, stressing that Berlin’s decisions have been successful : “Nobody really expected that we would survive a complete stop of Russian gas without any problems.”
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