Police to start vacating protesters from German village standing in way of coal mine
Spiegel / Clean Energy Wire
The climate activists occupying the western German village of Lützerath, which is slated for demolition to make way for a nearby lignite mine, are set to be evicted by “massive” police forces in the coming days or weeks, news magazine Der Spiegel reported. Local police will be supported by forces from across Germany to clear the village of “several hundred” protesters, the article said. About 2,000 climate activists had gathered near the coal mine on Sunday (8 January) to protest the demolition with a “village walk” and a concert, organised by the alliance “Lützerath unevictable”, which is supported by several climate groups including Fridays for Future and the Last Generation. Police reported some violence after the official event had ended. The alliance plans several more events, including a large-scale protest by NGOs on 14 January.
Like the Hambach Forest in 2019, the town of Lützerath has become a symbolic battle ground for climate activists in Germany and is set to be demolished in order to expand a neighbouring coal mine. Lützerath's original residents have already left the town and anti-coal activists now live in the abandoned homes. A deal between the federal government, the NRW government and energy company RWE from last year means that, while the end of coal mining in the state is set to be brought forward to 2030 and some villages saved, Lützerath would still be demolished as agreed years earlier. Green Party economy minister Robert Habeck and the regional government negotiated the widely criticised deal. Critics say that it is not necessary to demolish Lützerath, as the volumes of lignite still needed in the future could be produced without it, reported Spiegel.