Climate activist Greta Thunberg was among climate activists detained during protests against the expansion of a coal mine in Luetzerath on Tuesday, according to German police, reported CNN affiliate N-TV.
Hundreds of climate activists resumed their demonstrations across western Germany on Tuesday against the ongoing destruction of a village to make way for a coal mine expansion of the Garzweiler lignite coal mine, which is owned by European energy giant RWE, German news agency dpa reported. Once the eviction is complete, RWE plans to build a 1.5-kilometre perimeter fence around the village, sealing off the village’s buildings, streets and sewers before they are demolished.
It comes just two days after the last two activists holed up in a tunnel beneath the village were removed from the site.
Activists were evicted from the tiny hamlet of Luetzerath last week after occupying it in protest of the demolition. It has since been sealed off, roadblocks removed and treehouses and buildings bulldozed.
The expansion of the coal mine is significant for climate activists. They argue that continuing to burn coal for energy will increase planet-warming emissions and violate the Paris Climate Agreement’s ambition to limit global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. Lignite is the most polluting type of coal, which itself is the most polluting fossil fuel, reported CNN.
Thunberg tweeted on Friday that she was in Lutzerath to protest the expansion, and asked others to join.
“Climate strike week 230. We are currently in Lutzerath, a German village threatened to be demolished for an expansion of a coal mine. People have been resisting for years. Join us here at 12 or a local protest tomorrow to demand that #LutzerathBleibt !#ClimateStrike,” tweeted Thunberg.
Clashes between the activists and police have been ongoing this month, and photos from the protests have shown police wearing riot gear to remove the demonstrators. Some of the protesters have been in Lutzerath for more than two years, CNN has previously reported, occupying the homes abandoned by former residents after they were evicted to make way for the mine.
More than 1,000 police officers have been involved in the eviction operation. Most of the village’s buildings have now been cleared and replaced with excavating machines.
Ministers and energy company RWE say that the lignite from the mine will ensure Germany’s short term energy security following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Activists say this is the most polluting form of coal and want the government to take immediate action on fossil fuels, reported euronews.
An August report by international research platform Coal Transitions found that even if coal plants operate at very high capacity until the end of this decade, they already have more coal available than needed from existing supplies, reported CNN.