Climate activists have occupied a bucket wheel excavator in the Hambach lignite opencast mine in the Rhenish lignite mining area. Photo: Henning Kaiser/dpa
In the Hambach opencast mine, around 20 kilometers away, a bucket wheel excavator has been occupied since the early hours of the morning, as a spokesman for the energy company RWE announced on Monday. In addition, climate activists abseiled in wheelchairs from a motorway bridge near Lützerath.
The excavator in the Rhenish lignite mining area, which is located in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, has stopped operating, said an RWE spokesman. There are a total of four people on the excavator. The police have been informed. According to the protest group “Counterattack – for the good life”, eight activists occupied the excavator. With the action you want to show solidarity with the people in the village of Lützerath. The group also criticized the actions of the police there and called for the socialization of energy production.
In Lützerath itself there were still two demonstrators in a tunnel on Monday morning, as a spokesman for RWE said. You are in contact with them. Meanwhile, the dismantling continues and is already “well advanced”. After the village has been completely demolished, RWE wants to excavate the coal underneath. According to a spokesman, this could start as early as March or April.
On Saturday, thousands of people, including the Swedish activist Greta Thunberg, demonstrated in Lützerath and the surrounding area against the eviction of Lützerath and generally against the climate and energy policies of the state and federal governments. There were clashes with the police on the fringes of the protests. The North Rhine-Westphalian Minister of the Interior, Herbert Reul, defended the police against allegations of excessive use of force. She worked “highly professionally”, said Reul on Sunday evening on the ARD talk show “Anne Will”. Officers used sticks and water cannons, among other things, and some were on horseback.
Germany is under enormous pressure to develop new energy sources simply because of the final phase-out of nuclear energy now planned for mid-April.