Greta Thunberg joins protests at German village under threat of destruction over coal mine | World News

Greta Thunberg has condemned the forced removal of protesters from a small village in western Germany that is due to be demolished to accommodate the expansion of an open coal mine.

Speaking in Lutzerath in North Rhine-Westphalia, the climate activist said: “Germany is really embarrassing itself right now.

“The science is clear: we need to keep the carbon in the ground.”

She went on to claim that “police violence” was used in the removals of protesters.

Ms Thunberg plans to join a demonstration on Saturday that will “show what people power looks like, what democracy looks like – that when government and corporations act like this, destroying the environment… the people step up.”

Image:
Thunberg with fellow protesters

Following a court decision allowing energy company RWE to proceed with the expansion of the Garzweiler mine, hundreds of police in riot gear moved in on Wednesday, clearing barricades erected by the activists.

Police have said it could take weeks to resolve the standoff over the coal mine expansion, which activists see as a
symbol of Berlin’s failing climate policy amid an energy crisis in Europe’s biggest economy.

Some stones, fireworks and other objects have been thrown at officers but police said the protests have been largely peaceful.

Protesters occupy a tree in protest against the expansion of the Garzweiler open-cast lignite mine
Image:
Protesters occupy trees around the village
A police officers clear a blocked road at the village Luetzerath near Erkelenz, Germany, Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2023. Police have entered the condemned village in, launching an effort to evict activists holed up at the site in an effort to prevent its demolition to make way for the expansion of a coal mine. (AP Photo/Michael Probst)
Image:
Police officers entered the village on Wednesday to clear the area of demonstrators

Environmentalists say bulldozing the village to expand the Garzweiler mine would result in huge amounts of greenhouse gas emissions.

RWE argues that coal is needed to ensure Germany’s energy security.

Police officers stand guard during a demonstration at Luetzerath, a village that is about to be demolished to allow for the expansion of the Garzweiler open-cast lignite mine of Germany's utility RWE, in Luetzerath, Germany, January 11, 2023. REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay
Image:
Police stand guard outside houses, once abandoned, now occupied by squatting protesters

The regional and national governments, both of which include the environmentalist Green party, reached a deal with RWE last year allowing it to destroy the abandoned village in return for ending coal use by 2030, rather than 2038.

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