Activists resume protests over German coal mine expansion

BERLIN (AP) — Hundreds of climate activists resumed their demonstrations across western Germany on Tuesday against the ongoing destruction of a village to make way for a coal mine expansion, German news agency dpa reported.

The protests in several locations in the western state of North Rhine-Westphalia came a day after the last two climate activists holed up in a tunnel beneath the village of Luetzerath left the site.

Dozens of climate activists glued themselves to a main street in Germany’s western city of Cologne and to a state government building in Duesseldorf. Near Rommerskirchen, a group of about 120 activists also occupied the coal railroad tracks to the Neurath power plant, according to police and energy company RWE. Those who refused to leave the tracks were carried away, dpa reported.

In addition, several people occupied a giant digger at the coal mine of Inden, while hundreds of other protesters joined a protest march near Luetzerath. The village itself was evacuated by the police in recent days and is sealed off.

Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg, who had traveled to western Germany to participate in the demonstrations on the weekend, also participated in the protest near Luetzerath, dpa reported. German news channel n-tv showed Thunberg inside a group of protesters that was surrounded by several police officers.

Once again, there were a few clashes with the police.

Several activists who took part in the demonstration near Luetzerath, ran over to the Garzweiler open pit mine, according to dpa. They stood at the brink of the open pit, which has a sharp break-off edge. Police said it is dangerous and people are forbidden to stay there.

One protester was able to enter the mine, RWE said, calling the move “very reckless,” dpa reported.

Police and RWE started evicting protesters from Luetzerath on Jan. 11, removing roadblocks, chopping down treehouses and bulldozing buildings.

Activists have cited the symbolic importance of Luetzerath for years, and thousands of people demonstrated Saturday against the razing of the village by RWE for the expansion of the Garzweiler coal mine.

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