Greta Thunberg to join climate activists confronting German police over village sold to coal mine

Berlin – The German police said their methodology operation to eliminate hundreds of climate change activists from the tiny town that was sold to an energy company to mine coal, went according to plan on Wednesday. As a well-known climate fighter in Sweden Greta Thunberg announced that she would join the protestors who squatted in the abandoned village, the second day of the police effort got off to a rocky start.

There were more violent clashes and even several bottles of incendiary mixture were thrown at the police on Wednesday morning, repeating the scenes of the previous day, but Aachen police said that the clearing of the village of Lucerat was going ahead and they described the scene as mostly peaceful.

Despite the clashes early Wednesday, which began when hundreds of police began pushing into the occupied village on Tuesday morning, police reported no arrests or injuries. They detained people briefly to record personal information, but there was no indication late Wednesday that anyone had been charged.

The police will begin the eviction of the Luetzerath activists from the Garzweiler II coal mine
Police escort an environmental activist out of the settlement of Lucerat, next to the Garzweiler II coal mine, on January 11, 2023 near Erkelenz, Germany.

Andreas Renz/Getty

The energy company RWE, which wants to unearth the lignite (lignite) reserves beneath the village, has begun erecting about one mile of fence around Lucerata. RWE plans to demolish the village’s houses and streets once it is cleared of climate protesters.

When the eviction operation began, police gave squatter activists the option to leave the area without facing legal consequences, and police said many took advantage of it.

A spokesman said that the Aachen police “welcome the fact that a large number of activists decided to leave the area here peacefully and without resistance”.

Some activists, however, climbed onto high platforms that were deliberately joined together to give protesters space to try to avoid being dragged off the site. Around midday on Wednesday, officers began using trucks with lifting platforms to remove the squatters from the structures.

Lucerata design
Police lift a protester from wire scaffolding with a lifting platform during a sweep of the village of Lucerat, Germany, on January 11, 2023.

Federico Gambarini/Photo Alliance/Getty

Some of the activists offered a soundtrack to the scene, playing guitars and piano.

On Wednesday, officials cleared some of the first buildings in the village, with police evicting activists from a former agricultural hall that was reportedly being used by protesters as a communal kitchen.

However, the police had not yet entered the occupied houses of Lucerata.

As barricades and fences go up around the site, it is expected to complicate and delay the eviction process, which police expect will take about a month.

APTOPIX Coal mine protests in Germany
Police officers lead a protester to clear a road in the village of Lucerath, near Erkelenz, Germany, on January 10, 2023.

Michael Probst/AP

There were approximately 300 to 400 activists in the village, among them were small children.

“Due to widespread danger in the area of ​​operation, Aachen police are asking guardians to leave the area with their children immediately,” the local police office wrote on Twitter.

A demonstration has been announced for Saturday, and Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg has said she will travel to Lucerne to take part.

Protests against the evictions and that Lucerne was being mined as a coal mine were also announced in other German cities, including Munich and Hamburg.

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