Greta Thunberg carried away by police at German mine protest

17 January 2023, 19:44 | Updated: 17 November 2023, 11:27

Police officers carry Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg away from the edge of the Garzweiler II opencast lignite mine during a protest action by climate activists after the clearance of Luetzera
Germany Coal Protest. Picture: PA

Ms Thunberg was among hundreds of people who resumed anti-mining protests at multiple locations in the western German state of North Rhine-Westphalia.

Police in western Germany have carried Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg and other protesters away from the edge of an open coal pit mine where they demonstrated against the ongoing destruction of a village to make way for the mine’s expansion, German news agency dpa reported.

Ms Thunberg was among hundreds of people who resumed anti-mining protests at multiple locations in the western German state of North Rhine-Westphalia a day after the last two climate activists holed up in a tunnel beneath the village of Luetzerath left the site.

The German government reached a deal with energy company RWE last year allowing it to destroy the village in return for ending coal use by 2030, rather than 2038.

Both argue the coal is needed to ensure Germany’s energy security, which has been squeezed by the cut in supply of Russian gas due to the war in Ukraine.

But environmentalists say bulldozing Luetzerath will result in vast greenhouse gas emissions.

Germany is expected to miss its ambitious climate targets for the second year in a row.

Amid the heated coal debate in Germany, the European Union pushed forward on Tuesday with a major clean tech industrial project designed to boost its plans for a greener future as the 27-nation bloc pursues the goal of being climate neutral by 2050.

Police officers stand in front of a group of protesters, including Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg, centre bottom, on the edge of the Garzweiler II opencast lignite mine during a protest action by climate activists after the clearance of Luetzerath, Germany
Police officers stand in front of a group of protesters, including Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg, centre bottom, on the edge of the Garzweiler II opencast lignite mine in Luetzerath, Germany (Roberto Pfeil/dpa via AP)

Elsewhere in western Germany, dozens of climate activists glued themselves to a main street in Germany’s western city of Cologne and to a state government building in Duesseldorf.

Near Rommerskirchen, a group of about 120 activists also occupied the coal railroad tracks to the Neurath power plant, according to police and energy company RWE.

Those who refused to leave the tracks were carried away, dpa reported.

In addition, several people occupied a giant digger at the coal mine of Inden, while hundreds of other protesters joined a protest march near Luetzerath.

The village itself was evacuated by the police in recent days and is sealed off.

Once again, there were a few clashes with the police.

Police officers surround a group of activists and coal opponents on the edge of the Garzweiler II lignite open pit mine during a protest by climate activists following the clearance of Luetzerath, Germany
Police officers surround a group of activists and coal opponents on the edge of the Garzweiler II lignite open pit mine during a protest by climate activists following the clearance of Luetzerath, Germany (Federico Gambarini/dpa via AP)

Several activists ran over to the Garzweiler open pit mine, according to dpa.

They stood at the brink of the open pit, which has a sharp break-off edge.

Police said it was dangerous and people were prohibited from staying there.

Ms Thunberg had travelled to western Germany to participate in weekend demonstrations against the expanded mine and also took part in Tuesday’s protest near Luetzerath.

Police in nearby Aachen said a group of around 50 protesters got dangerously close to the rim of the mine and did not want to leave despite being asked to do so.

All the people in that group had to be carried away from the edge of the mine and were then temporarily held to determine their identities, police said.

Photos from the scene showed Ms Thunberg was one of those whom officers took away.

Police officers lead Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg away from the edge of the Garzweiler II opencast lignite mine during a protest action by climate activists after the clearance of Luetzerath, Germany
Police officers lead Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg away from the edge of the Garzweiler II opencast lignite mine in Luetzerath, Germany (Federico Gambarini/dpa via AP)

One protester was able to enter the mine, RWE said, calling the move “very reckless”, dpa said.

A police spokesman, who spoke on condition of anonymity as is customary in Germany, said he was not permitted to give out any details on Ms Thunberg or any other individuals who participated in the protest due to privacy rules.

Police and RWE started evicting protesters from Luetzerath on January 11, removing roadblocks, chopping down treehouses and bulldozing buildings.

Activists have cited the symbolic importance of Luetzerath for years, and thousands of people demonstrated on Saturday against the razing of the village by RWE for the expansion of the Garzweiler coal mine.

By Press Association

Latest World News

See more Latest World News

Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories is unlawful, the International Court of Justice has ruled

Top UN court rules Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories 'unlawful', as Netanyahu slams 'false decision'

Shaikha Makhra announced her split on Instagram

Dubai princess announces divorce from husband via Instagram 'as he is occupied with other companions'

Evan Gershkovich, a Wall Street Journal reporter, was detained last March on spying charges

American journalist jailed for 16 years in Russia after being convicted of espionage

Dominic Reid and Prince Harry

Prince Harry's charity boss quits as head of Invictus Games days after duke sees backlash over veterans' award

CrowdStrike sign and logo at headquarters in Silicon Valley

What is CrowdStrike, the cybersecurity company ‘responsible’ for global IT failure? Microsoft outages explained

Keir Starmer welcomes Volodymyr Zelenskyy to Downing Street

Starmer greets Zelenskyy as Ukrainian President becomes first foreign leader to address UK cabinet since Bill Clinton

The outage is being felt across the world

Global IT outage LIVE: CrowdStrike outage could be ‘biggest cyber incident in history’ as GP surgeries and banks hit

Trump recounted the shooting on Saturday

'I'm not supposed to be here': Emotional Donald Trump recounts assassination attempt in first speech since shooting

Nancy Pelosi has said 'Biden can be convinced to quit the presidential race'

Nancy Pelosi 'says Biden can be convinced to quit race', after Obama says he 'must seriously consider' stepping aside

Obama tells allies Joe Biden must 'seriously consider' presidential bid

Obama tells allies Joe Biden must 'seriously consider' presidential bid as campaign hits back at 'baseless conjecture'

Six people were found dead at a luxury hotel in Bangkok died from cyanide, including Sherine Chong (left)

US woman insisted on making tea for victims before poisoning them in cyanide murder-suicide plot at Bangkok hotel

It follows a sharp rise in the number of abusive messages sent via the bank's app.

Santander bans swear words when sending money after abusers use 1p bank transfers to bypass restraining orders

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen reacts after the announcement of the vote at the European Parliament in Strasbourg

Ursula von Der Leyen wins second term as top EU leader

US President Joe Biden

Joe Biden ‘more receptive to standing down after senior Democrats turn on President’ as he battles Covid

Vance hailed Donald Trump as America's "best hope".

Donald Trump is the 'best hope for America', says vice-president pick JD Vance

Jessica Lawson drowned on a school trip in 2015

French lifeguard and local council found guilty of manslaughter after Brit girl, 12, drowned in lake on school trip