Activists speak of numerous serious injuries in the protests in Lützerath.
During the major demonstration on Saturday, people were stopped “with sheer violence”, said Indigo Drau from the “Lützerath Leben” initiative on Sunday in front of the press in the Keyenberg district of Erkelenz. The activists spoke of numerous serious injuries. Dozens of police officers were also injured during the clearing operation.
According to the “Lützerath Leben” initiative, the police used “massive batons, pepper spray, armored clearing vehicles, water cannons, dogs and horses” against the coal opponents on Saturday. A demo paramedic spoke of a “high two-digit to three-digit number” of injuries, some of them life-threatening”. Officials beat demonstrators “uncontrollably”, preferably on the head, she said at the press conference.
Darya Sotoodeh from Fridays for Future called this “inexcusable”. The activists did not name an exact number of injuries with reference to the protection of those affected from police investigations.
The police confirmed that during the protests against the eviction and demolition of Lützerath for the lignite, water cannons, pepper spray and sticks were used against “disturbers”. As a spokesman for the Aachen police said on Sunday, more than 70 officers have been injured since the start of the operation on Wednesday, some of them during the weekend protests. The injuries are due to arguments with climate activists as well as missteps due to the ground conditions or other circumstances. Most officers are still able to work.
Greta Thunberg at protests
On Saturday, thousands of people demonstrated again against the clearing of the settlement and the threat of excavation for lignite mining, including climate activist Greta Thunberg. The police spoke of a total of 15,000 protest participants. The initiators named a number of more than 35,000 demonstrators, the All Villages Stay initiative even spoke of 50,000.
There were violent clashes with the police on the fringes of the large-scale demonstration, when several hundred people broke through the police lines and ran in the pouring rain to the demolition edge of the opencast mine. Stones were thrown at security forces. As darkness fell, the situation calmed down and most of the demonstrators left.
On Sunday, according to the information, some climate activists continued to persevere in tree houses and at least two in a self-made tunnel system. The RWE Power plant fire brigade therefore kept in touch with them.
Activists want to continue to resist
According to the police, in the course of the operation in Lützerath, which has been running since Wednesday, there have been around 150 criminal proceedings, among other things, for resistance against police officers, damage to property and breach of the peace.
The activists announced further actions against the clearance and demolition of Lützerath. “The 1.5-degree limit cannot be met if RWE digs lignite under Lützerath,” said Darya Sotoodeh from Fridays for Future. Christopher Laumanns from the All Villages Remaining initiative called the destruction of Lützerath “a global embarrassment for Germany and especially for the Green Party”. “We will continue to resist.”
The energy company RWE wants to expand the Garzweiler opencast mine near Lützerath and mine the coal underneath the town, for which the village, which was abandoned by the previous residents, has to be demolished. North Rhine-Westphalia’s Prime Minister Hendrik Wüst (CDU), who is reacting together with the Greens, recently again refused to dig up the site for the opencast lignite mine.