Jan 13, 2023 at 5:59 PMUpdate: 4 hours ago
The German police have almost completed the evacuation of the occupied German ‘lignite village’ Lützerath. Although the police and activists are constantly clashing, the eviction is proceeding faster than expected. The police had set aside four weeks for this, but since Wednesday they have already expelled hundreds of activists from the village.
According to a spokesperson for the Aachen police, officers still have to get a few people out of tree houses. In addition, two activists are entrenched in a tunnel under the village.
“We will tackle the tree houses on Friday,” he said. “We also try to get the two people in the tunnel out as quickly as possible, but that is not easy.” Experts from the fire service are looking at how this can be done as safely as possible.
According to the spokesman, all occupiers have now been removed from the squatted homes. The last activists are also taken from the roofs, where they tried to delay the eviction.
In total, the police have removed 470 occupiers from the village in the past three days. According to the police, 320 of them left voluntarily. 150 activists had to be more or less forced.
Police are tearing down tree houses in the village. Photo: AFP
Police cut cables to remove activists on poles
Police and occupiers quarreled over the removal of activists who chained themselves in high poles. The occupiers believe that agents are putting them in “life-threatening danger” because they cut cables that held the 8-meter high poles in place.
A spokesman for the police says that officers proceeded with caution and that the specialists “know quite well what they are doing”.
The police tried to remove the activists from the poles at 11:15 am on Friday. The activists demanded that the police stop. “Police are risking the death of activists with this unprofessional, frantic and irresponsible behavior,” said a spokesman for the activists.
Activists had chained themselves to eight-meter high poles. Photo: ANP
RWE employees start with demolition and felling work
Many previously occupied farms, residences and wooden buildings on the ground have been evacuated. Most of the village has now been evacuated. Employees of energy company RWE have started felling trees and demolishing monumental farms in the village.
The police have now discovered three tunnels under the village. Agents visited a cellar vault under an evacuated house on Friday. Below that is a shaft 4.5 meters deep that opens into the tunnels.
At least two people are hiding in the tunnels. The fire service is investigating how these people can be removed.
Activists holed up on the roofs of buildings that are still standing. Photo: AFP
Climate activist Greta Thunberg visiting Lützerath
Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg visited the village on Friday afternoon. Via Twitter she called on people to come to Lützerath on Saturday for a large demonstration against the eviction.
On Saturday, Thunberg will join a demonstration around the village. Ten to twenty thousand people are expected. Four buses with two hundred Dutch activists also come to the demonstration. In addition, many Dutch people come with their own transport.
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The police have prepared for the demonstration on Saturday. Among other things, she has a water cannon, horses and dogs on site.
The demonstrators will leave Keyenberg on Saturday at noon and then walk about 5 kilometers to Lützerath, where there is a stage in a meadow outside the village. Speeches will be held there from 1:30 p.m.
Activists have been occupying Lützerath for more than two years to prevent it from being demolished and energy company RWE extracting lignite from the ground. The use of lignite is bad for the climate.
Greta Thunberg arrives in Lützerath carrying a “Keep it in the ground” sign. By this she refers to the lignite that must remain in the ground because its use contributes to climate change. Photo: ANP
Chancellor Scholz believes that protest should be directed elsewhere
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has no positive words for the demonstrators and certainly not for the violence they have used. “Perhaps the protest should focus on the fact that it takes six years to get a wind turbine approved,” he told German media.
According to Scholz, speed is important if you want to change the energy form. “The goal should be to install three to four large wind turbines in Germany every day,” he says.
Scholz rejects the idea that the development of a lignite mine under Lützerath jeopardizes the German climate goals. “It’s the exact opposite: we act to achieve our climate goals.” According to the government, additional extraction is now necessary to accelerate all coal mining in 2030 with the aim of being climate neutral by 2045.
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