Police accused of ‘violence’ during protest against coal mine in Germany

Around 15,000 demonstrators, according to the German police – 35,000 according to the organizers -, including the Swedish activist Greta Thunberg, protested against the extension of an open-pit lignite mine leading to the destruction of the hamlet of Lützerath, in the Rhine basin. , between Düsseldorf and Cologne, supporting activists who occupied the site and whom the police have undertaken to dislodge since Wednesday.

A spokeswoman for the protest organizers, Indigo Drau, accused the police at a press conference of “pure violence”, saying the officers beat the activists “without restraint”, including hitting them on the head.

The Lützerath lebt! reported on Saturday dozens of wounded, some seriously, in the ranks of the militants. Twenty of them were hospitalized, according to a nurse from the activist group, Birte Schramm.

Police said on Sunday that some 70 of their officers were injured on Saturday, and that legal proceedings have been launched against around 150 people.

The situation on the ground had become “very calm” again on Sunday, according to the police.

The evacuation operation in Lützerath is politically delicate for the coalition of Social Democrat Olaf Scholz, which governs with environmentalists, accused by activists of having betrayed their commitments.

The government considers the extension of the mine operated by energy giant RWE necessary for Germany’s energy security, which must compensate for the interruption of Russian gas supplies, a compelling reason that opponents dispute, on behalf of the fight against fossil fuels.

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