The activists in Lützerath complained of serious injuries caused by the police operation. Now they have to retract their statements. After the escalation on Saturday, the police reported a success on Sunday: the protest village in Lützerath was completely cleared. The situation in Lützerath in the Newsticker.
Tuesday, January 17, 2023, 7:59 a.m.: The activists in the lignite town of Lützerath have withdrawn their own statements, according to which protesters were “life-threateningly” injured when the village was cleared. This is reported by several media, including the WDR and the Süddeutsche Zeitung. Florian Özcan, spokesman for the “Lützerath is alive” initiative, told the newspaper on Monday: “Fortunately, there are no life-threatening injuries.”
On Sunday, demo paramedic Iza Hofman complained that there had been a “high two-digit to three-digit number” of injuries, “including many seriously injured” and “some critically injured people”. Hofman accused the police of deliberately hitting the demonstrators in the head. According to Özcan, Hofman gave her subjective impression. In addition, she would not have had any diagnostic equipment at her disposal.
The Aachen police, responsible for the evacuation, contradicted the activists’ statements on Sunday. According to WDR, no seriously injured activists were admitted to any clinic.
12.43 p.m .: The two activists who were still in the tunnel under Lützerath leave it. The activists confirmed this.
10.50 a.m .: In wheelchairs, climate activists have abseiled down from a bridge at the entrance to the A44. The disruption has now ended. Around 10:00 a.m., rescuers arrived, secured the activists with ropes and hard hats, and began the evacuation. Less than ten minutes later, the first wheelchair was on the ground, reports FOCUS online reporter Niklas Golitschek. All three wheelchair activists from the “Rolling Resistance” group are now back on the ground after four hours of protest.
“We have practiced technology and can overcome barriers together,” says a wheelchair activist to FOCUS online. According to the activist, people with disabilities also want to take part in the resistance and set an example against climate change. The police pushed the wheelchair drivers off the road and gave them a place reference.
8:47 a.m.: “We have measures and may take them,” says a police spokesman about the disruptive action of the wheelchair activists. The emergency services are currently showing no signs of wanting to take action. The campaign should be over by noon, the spokesman is confident.
7:52 a.m .: The police ask the activists to abseil. They argue that they cannot comply with the request as long as the police are on the rope. The emergency services fear that this would end in another rope throw on the street. A dilemma.
The fire brigade and ambulance have actually withdrawn and have left the field to the police because it is not an emergency situation. When asked by FOCUS online, the activists assured them that they were fine and that they had dressed warmly. There is no danger for the wheelchair activists either, explains a member of the group: “They are doubly secured.”
6:57 a.m .: One of the activists tries to block the right lane by throwing her rope onto the lane. Again and again it brings traffic to a complete standstill for a short time until the emergency services clear it away.
“We don’t need to be rescued, we’re not in an emergency,” one of the activists calls out to the approaching fire brigade: “We don’t need any help.”
6:19 a.m .: In the town of Jackerath near the cleared protest village of Lützerath, disabled and non-disabled activists from the “Rolling Resistance” group have roped down in wheelchairs from the bridge at the entrance to the A44 bridge. According to their own statements, they want to block the police shift change and protest against the eviction of Lützerath.
Emergency services are already on site and securing the road. The police clear the right parking lane for cars to get through. Only trucks are apparently to be diverted. “It doesn’t matter,” comments one of the officers.
From the officials it can be heard that they were on their way to the aid station and were looking forward to their coffee after work, reports FOCUS online reporter Niklas Golitschek from on site. The activists have put a spoke in the wheel of this plan for the time being. The officials take the delay calmly: Whenever you’re on your way back, something comes up, they say with humor.
Medical staff is also urgently needed. “It has to work quickly with the doctor here,” says an official. At least 20 police officers and ten emergency vehicles are currently holding up the nine activists with their protest.
Monday, January 16, 2023, 2:48 a.m.: The energy company RWE assumes that the demolition of the lignite town of Lützerath will soon be completed. It is expected that the dismantling will take eight to ten days, said a company spokesman for the “Rheinische Post” (Monday edition). “In March or April, the opencast mine could then reach the former village and excavate it.” The police want to stay on site until the end of the dismantling.
Lützerath has been cordoned off by the police for days and is surrounded by a double fence. The buildings of the small settlement in the Erkelenz area west of Cologne are currently being demolished to allow RWE to excavate the coal underneath. Climate activists had occupied the abandoned village.
On Sunday evening, police said they had cleared the village except for two activists in a tunnel. “There is contact with the people, but they reject any rescue attempts,” said the RWE spokesman. RWE regularly charges and feeds oxygen into a car battery that activists use for the shaft’s ventilation system.
4.35 p.m .: The Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg (20) surprisingly appeared again on Sunday afternoon at the edge of the lignite opencast mine near Lützerath. A dpa reporter reported that she took part in a spontaneous demonstration and sang and danced with other climate activists. She was wrapped up in a hat and hooded jacket.
A police spokesman said Thunberg briefly sat on a wall at the edge of the mine. For their own safety, police officers had asked them to leave the wall. When she failed to do so, the officers carried her a few steps further away. The same went harmoniously. The Swedish climate activist then went her own way.
4:17 p.m .: According to the police, the evacuation of the protest village of Lützerath at the Rhenish opencast lignite mine has been completed, except for the two activists who are in a tunnel. “There are no other activists in the Lützerath area,” the police said on Sunday. The “Süddeutsche Zeitung” had previously reported.
The buildings had already been cleared by Friday, now also the total of 35 “tree structures” and almost 30 wooden structures. Almost 300 people were taken away from Lützerath, which resulted in four acts of resistance. Since the eviction began, 154 investigations have been initiated.
3:56 p.m .: Activists accuse the police of massive police violence in the course of the evacuation of Lützerath and during the large-scale demonstration on Saturday. As early as Wednesday, the first day of the eviction, a participant in a sit-in was said to have suffered a fractured skull and was still in the hospital at the weekend. However, the police clearly denied this. “That didn’t exist,” a spokesman told FOCUS online.
“The police enforce the law,” said Michael Mertens, NRW state chairman of the police union, on Sunday of the German Press Agency. “And if communication no longer helps, then unfortunately situations like yesterday arise. Nobody wants that, but then it is simply essential in order to implement the order that the police have.”
For reasons of protection of those affected, the demo paramedics do not provide any information or details. One of the paramedics, Iza Hofmann, says that she observed in Lützerath how the police used batons to hit sit-ins that did not resist – including the head. Such an injury is therefore “not unlikely”. In a first assessment on Saturday, the police only spoke of injuries on both sides.
Compared to other clashes between activists and the police, the level of violence overall was not particularly blatant. The “imbalance in violence” was particularly important for this. In similar events, the escalation escalated on both sides, but in Lützerath the vast majority of the activists and demonstrators were peaceful.
For Saturday, the demo paramedics speak of a “high two-digit to three-digit number” of injuries. The control center of the Heinsberg district refers to the district and the police for information on this, and the district administration to the police – and they have not yet provided any precise information.
3:50 p.m .: According to his own statements, documentary filmmaker Bo Friedrichs was himself involved in a delicate operation. In front of Gate 1, he and his colleague found a visibly disoriented person between the fence and the police cordon and then took them to the demo paramedics. The police officers first requested an ambulance, but it took 80 minutes for it to arrive. In between, a rescue helicopter was also requested. “But that wasn’t possible because of the wind,” says Friedrichs.
The demo paramedics then carried the injured person, who had lost consciousness several times during treatment on site, to the emergency services on the country road. “It was complete chaos there, too,” Friedrichs describes his impression. The police were unable to get the ambulance to the scene of the accident.
At noon, however, the rescue workers were also hampered by demonstrators on the street. According to the documentary filmmaker, it would have been easy to collect it via the nearby police road to Lützerath. In this context, he was surprised that rescue workers had not already been on site given the large-scale situation. “Why aren’t the police prepared for this?” he asks after this experience.
More news about the situation in Lützerath can be found on the following pages.