Climate protesters ousted from abandoned village by German police

To stop the adjoining Garzweiler open coal mine from engulfing Lützerath, protesters shut themselves inside.

Climate activists who have been occupying an abandoned village in western Germany for months are being dragged away by police in riot gear.

As the police started to evacuate the camp, several protesters hurled rocks and fireworks at them.

In an effort to make the eviction more challenging, protesters climbed into treehouses.

The final resident of the village, which is owned by the energy company RWE, left over a year ago.

As police in riot gear invaded the village early on Wednesday to remove the demonstrators, there were violent clashes.

They pulled a few protesters through the muddy ground, several of whom had scarves covering their faces. 

The situation was afterwards characterised as being calmer, but numerous demonstrators persisted.

Others have retreated to treehouses or the village rooftops, while some have created human chains.

Lützerath is practically about to be engulfed by the enormous open coal mine that is right outside its door.

The mine is run by RWE, who also has expansion ambitions. 

At the edge of the settlement, a massive mechanical digger stands a few metres from the treeline.

Even though there are no longer any residents, several hundred climate activists are adamant about keeping RWE from accessing the lignite that lies beneath Lützerath.

Some have been squatting in these brick structures for more than a year.

The last German village to be destroyed by a coal mine is probably Lützerath.

The state of North Rhine-Westphalia, where the mine is located, has promised to advance the phase-out of coal to 2030. The country’s goal is 2038.

Plans to destroy and excavate five additional communities have been abandoned, and RWE and the regional ministers have agreed to limit the mine’s expansion.

However, the fight for Lützerath is still ongoing. 

The campaigners are relying on a German rule that forbids the cutting down of trees from February to September in order to achieve their goals. 

The planned excavation might, in theory, come to a temporary halt as a result.

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