German police violently disperse anti-coal protest in Luetzerath
Police violently disperse anti-coal activists with batons and water guns.
German police clashed with anti-coal activists on Saturday at a protest camp in the abandoned western village of Luetzerath as demonstrators attempted to prevent it from being mined for coal, according to private broadcaster n-tv.
Police with batons and water guns dispersed the mostly masked protesters who braved rain and strong winds. There were no immediate reports of arrests or injuries, as the situation did calm down later in the evening, according to police.
Anti-coal activists expressed dismay at the crackdown in Luetzerath.
“What we are experiencing today and the last few days is pure police violence. We are shocked at how the police are proceeding and condemn this behavior. We remain steadfast because we know what we are fighting for: climate justice!” tweeted one activist of the anti-coal group Lutzerath bleibt.
More than 10,000 people took part in the anti-coal protest as police finished evicting the remaining protesters who had taken refuge in underground tunnels.
Read next: German anti-coal activists storm Green politician's office
Earlier in the day, Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg took part in a protest against the village's demolition. "The situation in Luetzerath is a huge international embarrassment for the federal (German) government," Thunberg said in Cologne, according to the German Press Agency.
“People have been defending Luetzerath for years as part of a global justice movement. The fact that people are taking action is a sign of hope," she added.
Thunberg had strongly criticized the police's actions in clearing the village. "The police violence is outrageous," said the 20-year-old climate activist.
Since Wednesday, police have been clearing and demolishing the area previously occupied by climate activists. German multinational energy company RWE wants to mine coal beneath the ground. According to the government, this is necessary to ensure energy security.