Even after the clearing has been completed, the topic of Lützerath is not over. In a letter, local residents complained about the activists who had traveled there, “who crapped the whole place”. RWE has announced civil legal action against demonstrators. The situation in Lützerath in the Newsticker.
Saturday, January 21, 8:55 a.m.: After the evacuation of the village of Lützerath in the Rhenish lignite mining area, the energy company RWE announced civil action against demonstrators. “Of course, all troublemakers have to expect a claim for damages,” said company spokesman Guido Steffen of the “Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung” (Saturday edition). However, it is not yet possible to quantify how high these demands could be. There is still no final damage assessment for the evacuation.
It took the police several days to clear the village occupied by climate activists on the edge of the Rhenish opencast mine. Thousands of people protested against the eviction. According to RWE, there was considerable damage to property during the protests, including damage to the group’s vehicles and systems. In addition, several wells and switchgear were destroyed. The former Lützerath settlement is to make way for an extension of the RWE Garzweiler opencast mine.
Friday, January 20, 6:43 a.m.: The evacuation of Lützerath is complete – the processing is not yet. According to the “Rheinische Post” (RP), residents of the small villages around the opencast mine in Lützerath wrote a letter to police chief Dirk Weinspach, district administrator Stephan Pusch and Erkelenz mayor Stephan Muckel. The tenor: “We are simply afraid,” quoted the newspaper.
The activists also settled in their villages – Keyenberg, Kuckum, Berverath and Ober- and Unterwestrich, when they arrived for the Lützerath protest. “They run as a matter of course through the villages in two nights, hooded, smash windows, daub walls and fire firecrackers,” quotes the “RP”.
Barbara Oberherr – a local resident who, according to RP, acts as a “mouthpiece” for people in the villages – told the newspaper: “It feels like Hitchcock’s ‘The Birds’ to us. At night, 100 to 200 people hooded in black run through the village, shouting slogans and throwing firecrackers. They basically shit up the whole village, leaving massive damage to the houses and fields.”
Mayor Stephan Muckel sums it up to “RP”. He has received “countless calls and emails”. “I have the feeling that the mood is changing.”
4:58 p.m .: The last house was demolished on Thursday in Lützerath on the edge of the Rhenish lignite opencast mine. This was announced by the energy company RWE. A spokesman emphasized that it would take weeks to dismantle the basement, roads, canals and lines.
The pulling of the tree roots and the subsequent removal will also take time. “That’s why we’re far from able to announce the end of the dismantling today.”
Wednesday, January 18, 1:28 p.m.: After the claim that demonstrators near Lützerath were critically injured on Saturday, a demo paramedic explained their representation on the part of the activists. “We can only make suspected diagnoses and as long as we cannot safely rule out a dangerous course, we assume the worst when in doubt,” said demo paramedic Iza Hofmann to “Spiegel” in an interview published on Wednesday. The authorities had contradicted Hofmann’s account: no life-threatening injuries had been taken to the hospitals. The demo paramedics do not work for the emergency services.
If it turns out later in the clinic that the injury is not life-threatening, that would of course be gratifying, said Hofmann. “We may have formulated it in a misleading way.” The classification as life-threatening injuries is an initial assessment and is based on the way normal rescue services work. “We wanted to make sure everyone was getting the best medical care possible.”
In addition, it is the aim of the demo paramedics “that hospitals do not find out that the injuries arose during the protests” if possible, in order to protect the injured from prosecution.
Accordingly, it is recommended that the injured who present themselves to the hospital independently and without an ambulance, “rather tell an accident-in-the-garden story than a truncheon-to-head story. The fact that the hospitals and the police do not have exact numbers of injuries is a quality feature of our work for us”.
According to Iza Hofmann, he has been active in the climate movement since 2019, including with the Green Youth, Greenpeace and Fridays for Future, the “Spiegel” reported. She claims to have completed training as a paramedic.
7:02 p.m .: The police took the Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg into custody along with a group of other demonstrators during a protest near the town of Lützerath. “The group is in police custody for identity verification,” said the spokeswoman for the Aachen police headquarters, Dana Zimmermann, on Tuesday evening at the request of the AFP news agency, without naming Thunberg.
There had previously been reports from climate activists that Thunberg had been arrested. According to the police, the number of people taken into custody is “in the middle double-digit range”. These would have to remain in police custody until everyone’s identity had been established. If some did not want this, “then everyone will have to wait,” said Zimmermann. However, it is not an arrest in the legal sense.
5:14 p.m .: The Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg was one of several demonstrators carried away by the police from the demolition edge to the Garzweiler opencast lignite mine. A dpa photographer observed this. Police confirmed Tuesday that Thunberg was part of the group that had moved towards the ledge and were then stopped and carried away.
The mine has a sharp edge, staying there is dangerous and forbidden. A dpa photographer observed that Thunberg was carried away by three police officers and dropped off after a good 50 meters to carry out an identity check. Around 60 to 70 activists had previously sat down near the edge of the demolition for a protest action.
3:07 p.m .: The activists at the demonstration near Lützerath offered the police to leave the area peacefully and independently if the police refrained from further measures. This is reported by FOCUS online reporter Niklas Golitschek on site. A little later it became known that the police had rejected the offer. Identities are now to be established.
2:31 p.m .: After a demonstration near Lützerath, according to the energy company RWE, a person entered the brown coal opencast mine. That said an RWE spokesman on Tuesday. “Of course it’s grossly careless what he’s doing there,” he said. The person was standing on a “kind of landing” on the embankment. The “Aachener Zeitung” had reported.
The demonstration started on Tuesday in the village of Keyenberg. According to the police, participants had left the protest march to walk in the direction of Lützerath. The village was cleared by the police in the past few days and is to be dredged. It’s locked down.
2:10 p.m .: “No comparison to Saturday,” says a relieved police officer on the edge of the boiler. Officials currently have the situation at the edge under control. So far, the operation has been peaceful on both sides.
FOCUS online reporter Niklas Golitschek is with a group of activists that the police are collectively taking into custody. Numerous vehicles have left to establish the identities of the activists.
1:57 p.m .: According to the police, a three-digit number of people from a demonstration in the direction of the Garzweiler opencast mine near the demolished village of Lützerath. A police spokesman said on Tuesday in Aachen that people were standing on the edge of the opencast mine. The lignite mine has a sharp edge, staying there is dangerous and forbidden.
Overall, several hundred people took part in the demonstration that started in the Keyenberg district of Erkelenz, the police said. According to a spokeswoman for “Ende Gelände”, two groups of participants left the rally in the direction of Lützerath. A third group will not be allowed to continue.
12.36 p.m .: Glued climate activists massively stalled rush-hour traffic in Cologne on Tuesday morning with a blockade action. They sat across a street and held up a banner that indicated the Last Generation group. Yellow crosses could also be seen – the protest symbols against the demolition of Lützerath, the village on the edge of the Garzweiler brown coal mine that had been cleared by the police. A dpa photographer reported a traffic jam and angry comments from drivers towards the activists.
Three people who were stuck were “freed” from the street, three were carried away, said a police spokeswoman after the end of the action. However, all six were taken into custody. Among other things, it is being determined because of dangerous interventions in road traffic. State security got involved. The Last Generation group tweeted a photo from Cologne in the morning and explained: “The coal under
Meanwhile, climate activists from the group “Extinction Rebellion” in Düsseldorf have stuck to the NRW Ministry of the Interior. About a dozen people, including a mother with a child, were involved in the action in Düsseldorf, according to police and interior ministry spokesmen. They protested against the eviction of the Lützerath settlement for lignite mining and demanded the resignation of NRW Interior Minister Herbert Reul (CDU) because of the police operation there. The activists complained about police violence and criminalization.
More news about the situation in Lützerath can be found on the following pages.