Despite the pouring rain, thousands of people came to the edge of the Rhenish opencast mine to demonstrate against the demolition of the village of Lützerath – including Greta Thunberg. Apparently it wasn’t very peaceful.
In Lützerath’s neighboring town of Keyenberg, a rally began on Saturday under the motto “Prevent eviction! For climate justice”. The police spoke of several thousand participants – despite the pouring rain. Aachen police chief Dirk Weinspach said the demonstration would become a challenge for the emergency services. He warned against attempts to break into Lützerath, which has since been cordoned off, or the Garzweiler II opencast mine.
In the afternoon, the police violently pushed back climate protesters who were trying to get to the edge of the opencast lignite mine. A police spokesman confirmed this. He cannot yet say anything about injuries or arrests because the operation is ongoing. Walking to the edge of the mine is life-threatening because the ground has softened due to constant rain and there is a risk of landslides.
The police spokesman said violent protesters also attacked police patrol cars and threw pyrotechnics at officers. Demonstrators also tried to get into the sealed-off Lützerath, but so far they have not been able to.
Interview: Miners in Lützerath 11.00
Greta Thunberg: “It really looks like Mordor”
The world-renowned Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg was also among the participants. The 20-year-old not only shot at the RWE energy company responsible for the demolition, but also criticized the Greens. Thunberg said she knew Lützerath from a previous visit, but it was completely different then. “It’s a very different place now.” She said of the crater landscape of the immediately adjacent Rhenish lignite mining area: “It really looks like Mordor. It shows what people are capable of under the wrong conditions. It shows what we are fighting against, what we want to prevent.” In JRR Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings novel, Mordor is the evil realm.
Thunberg had already visited Lützerath on Friday and denounced “police violence”. Police President Weinspach had vehemently rejected the criticism. On the contrary, the police acted with extreme caution, he said. FAQ Lützerath 14.50
Police have been clearing Lützerath, which is occupied by activists, since Wednesday
The police have been clearing Lützerath, which is occupied by climate activists, since Wednesday to give RWE the opportunity to demolish it and excavate the coal underneath. Leading Green politicians such as Federal Minister of Economics Robert Habeck and his NRW colleague Mona Neubaur are behind this decision. They say the coal is needed to maintain energy security. The demolition of Lützerath is part of a compromise that, on the other hand, provides for an eight-year earlier phase-out of coal.