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Cops carry Greta Thunberg away from German coal mine demo

by Joyce Remo

SWEDISH climate justice activist Greta Thunberg was carried away by German police during a large coal mine protest, Tuesday in Lützerath, Western Germany.

Police said they had to remove Thunberg along with other protesters after approaching the ledge of the opencast Garzweiler 2 mine near the village of Lützerath.

Thunberg was reported to be sitting near the face of the mine when the police warned them they would be taken by force if they didn’t move away from the edge of the mine.

The activist was later released after an identity check, along with the other strikers who were also brought into the police station.

Coal mine protest

German activists had been marching against the expansion of the coal mine in the village, which the government argued was necessary to keep up with the country’s demand for energy after the interruption of gas from Russia.

The protesters contested that Germany should rather focus on expanding renewable energy and stop mining anymore lignite or brown coal.

Lignite is said to be the dirtiest and most health threatening form of coal. Germany is said to be the biggest lignite producer and consumer with the Garzweiler mine producing over 25 million tons of this kind of coal every year.

The German government earlier pledged to pursue the phase-out of coal in North Rhine-Westphalia, the state where the mine is located, in 2030, according to a BBC report.

The protesters also emphasized that the continuity of coal mining undermines the country’s attempt to decrease the greenhouse gas emissions.

Thunberg arrived in Germany on January 13 in time for the major demonstration the following day.

In a speech amid a 6,000 crowd, Thunberg said the expansion of the coal mine despite the threat it poses to the environment is a “betrayal of present and future generations.”

The now-inhabited village of Lützerath once served as home to at least 900 residents who were all resettled after the scheduled demolition in 2018.

German multinational energy giant RWE, who trades and generates electricity to Europe, United States, and Asia-Pacific, has been targeting the village for the expansion of lignite extraction for nearly 10 years.

Despite promising to stick to the coal exit plan by 2030, the German government still allowed the expansion to push through.

The open pit coal mine in Lützerath that is currently under expansion to generate more lignite coal. | Florian Görner / Deutsche Welle

Banner courtesy: Deutsche Welle

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