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Riot police clear scores of anti-coal activists from abandoned German village | Climate News

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German riot police have cleared scores of environmental activists from buildings in an abandoned village, on a second day of clashes over the expansion of a coal mine.

During heavy rain, officers supported by bulldozers scaled buildings with ladders to remove protesters from rooftops and walls.

The demonstrators have been occupying the village of Luetzerath for the last two years attempting to stop energy firm RWE from expanding the Garzweiler coal mine.

Police were backed up by bulldozers and other vehicles to clear barricades around Luetzerath
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Officers were backed up by bulldozers and other vehicles to clear barricades around Luetzerath
German police arrested scores of protesters as they cleared the occupied village of Luetzerath
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Demonstrators have been occupying the village for the last two years

The area around the village in the western state of North Rhine-Westphalia is rich with lignite coal, a low-grade version of the fuel which is especially polluting because more of it has to be burned to produce units of power.

Lignite is responsible for around a fifth of Germany’s carbon emissions.

Although the protests were largely peaceful, some protesters threw rocks, bottles and fireworks at the advancing police. Many were dressed in white bodysuits and chanted “People got the power” and “Luetzerath stays”.

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German police scuffle with anti-coal activists

Coal mine furore symbolises energy conundrum – analysis by Sky’s Hannah Thomas-Peter

The operation to dislodge the protesters began this week following a court decision allowing the development.

On Wednesday morning, more than 1,000 officers in riot gear started clearing barricades which protesters had been preparing for weeks.

One of the main buildings in the village was cleared by police on Thursday, with bulldozers swiftly moving in to cut down trees and removing debris.

“The weather conditions are a big problem today. We now have to analyse carefully whether it is even possible today to clear tree houses without risk,” Aachen police spokesperson Andrew Mueller said.

Hundreds of people remain in the village, according to protesters, with two people hiding in a tunnel under the site.

“We are ready to last here as long as possible and maybe even make it to Saturday so that all the people who are going to come to the demonstration will join us here,” said 32-year-old activist Milena Glimbovski.

Read more:
German riot police start removing activists blocking coal mine expansion
Activists protest against coal mine expansion that threatens village
Climate protesters clash with police near mine in Germany

Protesters occupy a tree in protest against the expansion of the Garzweiler open-cast lignite mine
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Protesters occupy a tree in protest against the expansion of the Garzweiler mine
Activists demonstrate during a sit-in protest against the expansion of the Garzweiler open-cast lignite mine
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The operation to remove all the protesters is expected to continue into the weekend

Climate campaigner Greta Thunberg plans to join the demonstration on Saturday, according to the Luetzerathlebt environmentalist group.

Police fear it could take weeks to resolve the stand-off.



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