Greta Thunberg was arrested in Lützerath during an anti-coal demonstration

FEDERICO GAMBARINI / AFP Police officers carry Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg (C) out of a group of demonstrators and activists in Erkelenz, western Germany, on January 17, 2023, as demonstrations continue against the expansion of a coal mine in the nearby village of Luetzerath. – Abandoned by its original inhabitants, Luetzerath has become a symbol of resistance to fossil fuels. Energy giant RWE has a permit for mine expansion under a compromised agreement that also includes that RWE will stop producing electricity with coal in west Germany by 2030 – eight years earlier than previously planned. With Russia’s gas supply cut off after its invasion of Ukraine, the Germans turned to coal, powering numbed power plants. (Photo by Federico Gambarini / dpa / AFP) / Germany OUT


Greta Thunberg during her arrest in Lützerath, Germany, January 17, 2023.

ECOLOGY – Small meaningful smiles. Swedish environmental activist Greta Thunberg was arrested by police among a group of protesters on Tuesday (17 January) against the expansion of a coal mine in west Germany, police said.

“Group (demonstrators, editorial note) detained”said a police spokesperson, adding that anti-anthrax activists had headed “to the edge of the mine”. Photos released by AFP also show the activist being evacuated by police.

“They were bussed out of the danger zone”their identities were checked, then they were released, a spokesperson for the local police told AFP, adding that it had been underway “hours”. This is the second time this week that Swedish activists have been arrested, according to Sky News, which cited police.

Greta Thunberg has been in Germany for several days to support opponents of the expansion of the country’s largest open pit mine, in the Rhine basin, which will soon engulf the abandoned hamlet of Lützerath.

Climate advocates are not giving up

The hamlet, home to climate defenders eager to prevent its collapse, was evacuated by police, who took several hundred people to shelter in abandoned trees and farms.

Despite the end of the police operation, which lasted several days, the opponents did not give up. They held a demonstration on Saturday which attracted more than 15,000 participants from all over Germany. Fights left dozens of people injured between the demonstrators and police.

If all occupants were eventually evicted by Monday morning, the activists did not give up and continued their protests on Tuesday with the occupation of the railroads, blockades of roads and buildings, especially in western Germany.

The lignite mine, belonging to the German energy group RWE, is located between Cologne and Düsseldorf. The extension, planned for several years, was deemed necessary for Germany’s energy security, which would have to offset interruptions to Russian gas deliveries.

Activists believe that the current lignite reserves are sufficient and denounce Germany as a serious defiance of its climate commitments.

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