BAnti-coal opponents occupied a coal excavator in the Garzweiler opencast mine in the Rhineland on Sunday. The climate activist Luisa Neubauer, who took part in a rally on site, defended the action. The injustice here is so great that you have to defend yourself against it, she told the German press agency. In the afternoon the police stopped the operation.
According to various estimates, between 1,000 and 3,000 people took part in the rally. They stood in a ring around the village of Lützerath, which is to be dredged away for lignite extraction, while observing the distance rules.
“In the midst of the climate crisis, sacrificing old villages including historic churches, school buildings and fertile fields for a huge opencast mine is an unforgivable mistake,” criticized the Greenpeace climate expert Bastian Neuwirth. “If North Rhine-Westphalia’s Prime Minister Armin Laschet (CDU) wants to take responsibility for the whole of Germany as a potential candidate for Chancellor, then he must now start with climate protection in his home country.”
Neubauer: The coal compromise is outdated
RWE wants to demolish five villages for open pit mining. This is part of the coal compromise reached by the federal and state governments, argues the group. The coal phase-out has been decided by law, and RWE is making a major contribution to this. The coal among the villages will be needed as early as 2024.
Neubauer described the coal compromise reached at the beginning of 2019 as outdated. “Since the coal commission, the situation has changed radically,” said the 24-year-old Fridays for Future activist. “A coal compromise as it was concluded back then would already be unthinkable today. Today we understand how quickly we have to get out of coal in order to be able to comply with the Paris climate agreement. And we also know that we can do it. “
The demonstration was peaceful. When the excavator was occupied in the early morning, however, there were violent attacks. The environmental protection movement Extinction Rebellion accused security guards from RWE of choking, pushing and knocking a journalist to the ground. They also took away her press card and destroyed her camera.
An RWE spokesman rejected this representation. Rather, two RWE employees were violently overrun. You would have filed a complaint. Since the ban on filming and photography had been violated despite repeated requests, a camera was seized and handed over to the police. Extinction Rebellion spokesman Lukas Schnermann denied this: “We certainly did not act violently,” he said. The occupiers were also the first to be on the excavator, after which the security guards came.
The police announced in the evening that seven people had climbed onto the coal excavator and occupied it. An activist finally left the platform of the excavator voluntarily; the others had been “removed” from the excavator by the afternoon. A total of twelve activists were taken into police custody to establish their identity.