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Climate activist Greta Thunberg detained during coal mine protest

Germany Coal Mine Protests
Posted at 1:43 PM, Jan 17, 2023
and last updated 2023-01-17 13:43:42-05

German police detained climate activists Greta Thunberg during a coal mine protest on Tuesday.

The 20-year-old was seen being carried away from the site by officers in riot gear.

The operation to evict climate activists who flocked to the site in the hamlet of Luetzerath kicked off last week. Police cleared people out of farm buildings, the few remaining houses and a few dozen makeshift constructions such as tree houses.

On Saturday, thousands of people demonstrated nearby against the eviction and the planned expansion of the Garzweiler coal mine. There were standoffs with police as some protesters tried to reach the village, which is now fenced off, and the mine.

Environmentalists say bulldozing the village to expand the Garzweiler mine would result in huge amounts of greenhouse gas emissions. The government and utility company RWE argue the coal is needed to ensure Germany’s energy security.

The regional and national governments, both of which include the environmentalist Green party, reached a deal with RWE last year allowing it to destroy the abandoned village in return for ending coal use by 2030, rather than 2038.

The Greens' leaders argue that the deal fulfills many of the environmentalists’ demands and saved five other villages from demolition, and that Luetzerath is the wrong symbol for protests. Activists reject that stance.

Police said in a statement Sunday that nearly 300 people have been removed so far from Luetzerath. They added that “the rescue by RWE Power of the two people in underground structures continues; beyond that, the clearance by police is complete.”

They said that 12 people were detained in connection with Saturday's incidents. Demolition of the buildings in Luetzerath is already underway.