Climate activists were still in trees and tunnels. Demonstrations with Greta Thunberg announced for today.

The police have made further progress with the evacuation of the town of Lützerath on the edge of the Rhenish lignite mining area. The last building was cleared on Friday, the Aachen police announced on Friday evening. However, there are still activists in tree houses, as well as several in the underground tunnel discovered on Thursday. So far, they have refused to leave the tunnel voluntarily, the police said.

The evacuation of the abandoned village on the edge of the Garzweiler opencast mine began on Wednesday and progressed rapidly. “We made much better progress than we thought,” a police spokeswoman told the station on Friday Phoenix. The mission could possibly be completed faster than expected.REUTERS / Christian Mang

“Unfortunately, the police are in the village faster than expected,” admitted a spokeswoman for the Lützerath initiative in a video published on Twitter. She announced that the protests would be shifted to the mining area.

Behind the edge of the mine

According to the police, several hundred activists ran from nearby Keyenberg on Friday afternoon across fields and farm roads towards the edge of the opencast mine. This group was stopped by the police, among other things, with cavalry squadrons “even using direct force, before they reached the danger area”. According to the police, a smaller protest group blocked a service road on the L 12, but left again after an hour.

Protest against the expansion of the Garzweiler open-cast lignite mine of Germany's utility RWE, in Luetzerath

REUTERS / Christian Mang

“Above ground as good as through”

The police want to continue the eviction on Saturday morning. “We’re almost through above ground,” said a spokesman in the morning. There are still about 15 “structures” of the activists, including tree houses and shacks, it said. In addition, attempts will continue to penetrate into a tunnel in which two people are supposed to stay.

According to the police, the night was “quiet”. There have been no incidents. Activists in tree houses woke each other up Saturday with shouts, like a dpa-Reporter reported. Large parts of the site are illuminated with floodlights.

According to the police, since the start of the evacuation on Wednesday, emergency services have brought around 470 activists out of the occupied town. Of these, 320 people would have left the site voluntarily.

reported injured

The police also had information on four injured activists. The spokesman said the injuries were caused “as part of acts of resistance”, by sticking and a fall. In addition, five police officers were injured by pyrotechnics. Criminal charges were made against 124 people, mainly for breach of the peace and resistance to police officers.

Fierce resistance

The evacuation of Lützerath is accompanied by sometimes violent resistance. According to the police, officials were repeatedly thrown at with pyrotechnics, stones and bags of paint.

According to the Aachen police on Friday evening, criminal charges have been filed against 124 people since the start of the eviction, in particular for resistance against police officers and for breach of the peace. Aachen police chief Dirk Weinspach emphasized that the emergency services dealt with the squatters “very carefully” when clearing Lützerath.

Protest against the expansion of the Garzweiler open-cast lignite mine of Germany's utility RWE, in Luetzerath

First Thunberg visit

Thousands of people are expected to demonstrate against the clearing of the settlement near Lützerath on Saturday. The initiatives All Villages Remain, Fridays for Future and the environmental organization BUND are involved in the demonstration. The climate activists Greta Thunberg and Luisa Neubauer are also expected to take part in the protest.

Thunberg already visited Lützerath on Friday and sharply criticized the actions of the police in clearing the Rhenish village. “It’s outrageous how the police violence is,” she considered it “shocking” what’s happening there.

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