Environmental activists forcibly evicted from Lutzerath village to expand nearby coal mine
German authorities started Wednesday to clear a major protest camp in the village of Lutzerath following clashes between police and climate activists.
The confrontation escalated in the early hours as police attempted to remove barricades to enter the camp. Some activists responded by throwing stones, Molotov cocktails and fireworks at officers.
Several hundred activists were forcibly evicted during the day from buildings they had occupied, but dozens of others had chained themselves to treehouses to resist plans to expand a nearby coal mine.
More than 1,500 officers were deployed in the area for the planned eviction.
A police spokesman told reporters that authorities started the construction of a fence in the area, and protesters will be allowed to leave the camp, but no one will be allowed to enter the village.
“Everything is going according to plan. In the morning hours, some protesters threw stones and Molotov cocktails at officers. But now, the situation has calmed down,” he said.
Lutzerath was occupied by anti-coal activists for two years and become a symbol for environmentalist groups demanding an end to the use of coal and fossil fuels in Germany.
Extinction Rebellion, Fridays for Future, Last Generation and Scientist Rebellion are among the groups supporting the protest.
German energy company, RWE, is planning to demolish the village with plans to expand the Garzweiler coal mine to extract 280 million tons of lignite by 2030.