In Germany, clashes between police and neighborhood protesters in Lützerath

The incident against, Saturday, January 14, climate-caused demonstrators and police during a large rally of several thousand people in western Germany, in Lützerath (North Rhine-Westphalia). “The police barrier was knocked down. To the people in front of Lützerath: “Get out of this area immediately!” »tweeted the police, who also reported disturbance of protesters at the mine site.

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A little earlier in the afternoon, journalists from Agence France-Presse (AFP) witnessed a fight between groups of demonstrators and police, who were subjected to fire from pyrotechnic devices. The media reported the stone throwing.

An AFP reporter noted that one protester suffered a head injury when an ambulance siren sounded at the protest site, which was difficult to contain as it spread out in small groups across the muddy fields around the mine.

Clashes occurred between police and protesters, in Lützerath (North Rhine-Westphalia), on 14 January 2023.
Climate activists Luisa Neubauer (left) and Greta Thunberg (center) during a protest near the Garzweiler open-pit lignite mine in the village of Lützerath on January 14, 2023.

In front of Greta Thunberg

The Lützerath site, located in the Rhine basin, between Düsseldorf and Cologne, had to be removed to allow expansion of a large open pit lignite mine, one of the largest in Europe, operated by German energy company RWE. Several hundred environmental activists have occupied it for two years to protest the project.

The demonstration, which ended in the afternoon, took place in the presence of Swedish activist Greta Thunberg. It gathered around 35,000 people by organization, 15,000 by police.

In television footage, lines of police in riot gear, helmets and shields protected the edge of the mine shaft – tens of meters deep – as protesters approached. “Several people entered the mine. Get out of the danger zone immediately! »the police tweeted again.

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Security forces also protected access to the hamlet of Lützerath, which was closed off by a gate and occupied by several dozen militants, who had been evacuated by security forces since 11 January. It was to support the people living in this abandoned hamlet that demonstrations were held.

“It’s a shame that the German government makes deals and compromises with companies like RWE”launched from the Greta Thunberg platform in a black hat and jacket. “Lützerath’s coal must stay underground”he launched into the demonstrators, calling not to sacrifice the climate “for short-term growth and corporate greed”. In front of him, the mass of demonstrators who formed a sea of ​​anoraks and colorful umbrellas held up placards with pictures “Stop the coal”, “Lützerath lives! ».

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Very advanced site demolition and evacuation

As night fell, inside the camp in the former hamlet of Lützerath, security forces continued the demolition and evacuation of the site, which had progressed very well: trees were cut down, many of the huts built by the activists were emptied of their inhabitants, as were the buildings in which they had lived for two years. Fewer than fifty activists were still there as of Saturday night, a spokesman for their movement told AFP.

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The Lützerath evacuation operation was politically complex for Olaf Scholz’s coalition of social democrats, who rule alongside ecologists and whose party activists accuse of betraying its commitments.

The government considers the expansion of the mine necessary for Germany’s energy security, which must compensate for interruptions to Russian gas deliveries, a strong argument opposed by opponents, in the name of the war on fossil fuels.

World with AFP

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