The evacuation of Lützerath is scheduled to begin on Wednesday. However, according to NRW Interior Minister Reul, the police do not know what to expect there. The atmosphere in town is heated. The situation on site in the Newsticker.
Thursday, 6.50 a.m .: In the lignite town of Lützerath it was largely quiet on the first night after the evacuation began. There were no special incidents, said a police spokesman on Thursday morning. “During the day, the clearance work will continue,” he emphasized.
Some climate activists are still holding out in the tree houses and occupied buildings. How many there are is unclear. There was continuous rain on site and there was a strong wind.
11.40 p.m .: In the evening hours, the police took the last activists out of the halls. Only one group remains on a roof. On the street, emergency services free a person who has chained himself to a car wreck set up there as a barricade. Activists occasionally shoot firecrackers from the houses – but this time towards the sky. A flare gun is fired from the tree houses. Nevertheless, it remains mostly quiet.
7:09 p.m .: After dark, the clearing work in Lützerath at the Garzweiler opencast lignite mine continued. Activists held out on high stands and in the tree houses on Wednesday evening in windy weather. Construction machines drove back and forth, parts of Lützerath were brightly lit with floodlights, others plunged into deep darkness.
Around a dozen activists held out in nets and on high stands on a street. She’s been here since eight in the morning, said a woman in a low voice. She doesn’t know how long she’ll last. “At least it’s not raining,” said the activist, wrapped in foil. She sat several meters up on a plank attached to ropes in the dark.
A few meters further on, a Lützerath activist discussed climate protection and how to attract attention with two police officers from his perch. Activists also hung on ropes in trees, and light came from some tree houses. In others, activists made themselves known, chanting and urging the police to leave.
5:32 p.m .: A group of four activists should give the police a few more hours of work. Three of them chained themselves to metal pipes in concrete barrels. Another is in a wheelchair, which apparently cannot be easily removed. They are not really motivated to spend the night here. But they are now dependent on the emergency services to get away.
5:07 p.m .: “When the first stones flew, I was afraid,” says a police chaplain. He was glad that the interim violence had not been answered with counter-violence.
As a police chaplain, he is primarily concerned with the mental health of the officers and knows about the tense situation. “Such a mission always leaves its mark,” he knows. However, it is crucial that at the end of the day everyone goes to bed healthy. If the experience then accompanies the police officers, from his point of view it is even a good sign: “Then the processing begins.”
3:01 p.m .: The police continued to clear Lützerath early Wednesday afternoon by knocking over small, self-built wooden houses on stilts. According to a dpa reporter, the officials in the hut and tree house camp were accompanied by abuse from the activists. For example, the police also removed fire extinguishers that the activists kept in the huts.
According to the Aachen police, the wooden buildings are not among the existing buildings in Lützerath. They will later be demolished by the opencast mine operator RWE. According to the spokesman, the huts would now have to go to clear the area.
2:55 p.m .: The leading climate activist Greta Thunberg wants to come to the lignite town of Lützerath for protests. According to dpa information, the young Swede will take part in a demonstration on Saturday (from 12 p.m.) against the evacuation of the town in the Rhenish lignite mining area occupied by climate activists. Thunberg had already traveled to Lützerath in September 2021 to demonstrate against coal mining and for compliance with the 1.5-degree climate target – one day before the federal elections at the time.
Climate protectionists are protesting against the evictions in numerous German cities these days. According to the climate protection movement Fridays for Future, a protest was planned in Munich on Thursday and in Hamburg on Friday. On Saturday, people from over 50 places should travel together to Lützerath.
1:17 p.m .: The police started on Wednesday afternoon to clear a former agricultural hall in the lignite town of Lützerath. “Some people have left the area voluntarily,” said a police spokesman. In the hall there was a communal kitchen for the activists. The spokesman did not initially provide any further information. As a dpa reporter reported, the police officers also went into other halls.
1:16 p.m .: The conflict over Lützerath is also a crucial test for the Greens, who are co-governing in North Rhine-Westphalia. This was clearly expressed in the first reactions after the police cleared the lignite village in the Lower Rhine on Wednesday.
“The clearing of the village and the subsequent burning of the underlying coal is wrong in the existing and worsening climate crisis,” emphasized the state spokesman for the Green Youth of North Rhine-Westphalia, Rênas Sahin, in a statement. The Green Youth see themselves as part of the climate movement “In the next few weeks we will continue to stand up for Lützerath on the street and fight for effective climate policy in the actions around the village,” he announced.
The chairwoman of the Greens parliamentary group, Verena Schäffer, praised the legitimate commitment of climate protectionists and also spoke of a common fight. “However, the end does not justify the means,” she warned. The first reports of violence against the deployed police officers filled her with great concern. “Violence is not a legitimate means of political debate. The prosecution of criminal offenses is part of a constitutional state.”
Her co-chair Wibke Brems admitted: “Today is not an easy day for us Greens and all people committed to climate protection.” Like NRW Environment Minister Oliver Krischer (Greens), she again led legally binding agreements with RWE and expert opinions on the energy economy necessity of coal mining under Lützerath.
In the ZDF “Morgenmagazin” the federal spokeswoman for the Green Youth, Sarah-Lee Heinrich, openly admitted a conflict with the parent party. Many people in Lützerath are disappointed by the Greens. “We have one headline after the next that we are actually tearing our climate targets in every area,” said Heinrich.
12.57 p.m .: NRW Interior Minister Herbert Reul (CDU) sharply criticized attacks on police officers during the large-scale operation in the lignite town of Lützerath. Police officers were greeted with Molotov cocktails and stones as they advanced into town. “I’m actually just stunned and don’t understand how people can do something like that,” Reul told journalists in Bonn on Wednesday.
Now all peaceful demonstrators have a duty to distance themselves from the actions of violent activists. “You can demonstrate somewhere else, you don’t have to help them by standing there and disturbing the police at work,” he said.
According to the police, Molotov cocktails, stones and pyrotechnics were occasionally thrown in the direction of the officers at the beginning of the operation in Lützerath on Wednesday morning.
12:22 p.m .: According to the German Police Union (DPolG), the police’s operational concept for clearing the village of Lützerath has so far worked. “The targeted communication has contributed to the de-escalation of the situation,” said DPolG chairman Rainer Wendt on Wednesday afternoon. “Experience from past operations, such as that in the Hambach Forest in 2018, shows that the police have to reckon with considerable resistance, including traps being set up. “
Wendt emphasized that anyone who is in Lützerath to demonstrate is there illegally. The police themselves act in accordance with the law during the eviction: “All court decisions to date have confirmed this.”
The economics ministries led by the Greens in the federal and state governments of North Rhine-Westphalia had agreed with the energy company RWE to phase out coal by 2030. In addition, five already largely empty villages at the Garzweiler opencast mine in the vicinity of Lützerath are to be preserved. Climate activists who want to oppose the eviction have been living there in the empty houses for months.
11:22 a.m .: According to the police, families with small children are among the occupiers of the lignite town of Lützerath. The emergency services criticized this and called on the parents to act. “Due to far-reaching dangers in the area of operations, the
11.06 a.m .: After the start of the evacuation of the occupied lignite town of Lützerath in the Rhenish Revier, the situation stabilized on Wednesday morning, according to a police spokesman. The emergency services cordoned off the entire area, and no one could enter without authorization, it said. Now the police are active on the entire site, removing barricades and bringing activists outside. People could only move around the area to a limited extent, if at all.
The police had started clearing Lützerath in the morning. The police spokesman initially had no information about possible injuries.
10:00 a.m.: The police give the activists who want to leave the area the opportunity to do so. The entire site is now under the control of the emergency services. So far, they have met comparatively little resistance. “I would have expected it to be worse,” says a local police spokesman. The harder part, however, might be getting the activists out of the trees and halls.
9.46 a.m .: The police have given an ultimatum to activists to give up the occupation of the lignite town of Lützerath. There is now one last possibility to leave the place voluntarily. Otherwise, “you must expect the application to be subject to immediate coercion,” said a police announcement on Wednesday morning. The first activists followed the request and left voluntarily. They were escorted off the premises by police officers. But many want to continue to resist.
9:27 a.m .: According to the police, stones and pyrotechnics were thrown in the direction of the emergency services when the lignite town of Lützerath was cleared. Molotov cocktails were also used. “Stop throwing Molotov cocktails immediately. Behave peacefully and non-violently!” the police wrote on Twitter. In addition, objects were thrown from a house in the direction of the emergency services, as reported by a dpa reporter.
09:23: With a burning barricade, the activists tried to separate a unit that rushed to help their comrades in the halls after more fireworks. However, the police officers were not deterred and simply climbed through the flames.
9.05 a.m .: The police have asked to leave the lignite town of Lützerath, which is occupied by activists. “You can now leave the area here without further consequences for you,” said a police loudspeaker announcement on Wednesday morning. “Due to the corresponding general decree of the Heinsberg district of December 20th, 2022, you are prohibited from staying and entering the area specified therein in and around the location of Lützerath.” The police are asking everyone who is there to leave the area.
8:57 a.m.: Police forces discuss how to lock one in and make more loudspeaker announcements. The units sometimes detach themselves. The activists use the moment to flee deeper into the village. “Shit like that,” the policeman curses.
Occasional fireworks can be heard in the background, the village is now being surrounded more and more closely.
8.49 a.m .: The police have broken through the first human chains. The evacuation of Lützerath has begun. The first units are in the village, activists at the entrance have surrounded the officials.
Meanwhile, the first scuffles broke out, as dpa reporters reported.
8:31 a.m .: According to the activists, the police will break through the first human chains on the Vorwiese in a few minutes.
8:25 a.m .: The activists also use a form of climate protest that is now well-known: they want to strengthen their sit-ins with superglue.
The police have now largely taken up their position, but are still waiting for the evacuation to begin. In the meantime it’s getting dark, maybe she’s waiting for the sunrise; the rain stops. Meanwhile, the activists get sandwiches on the wall.
8.11 a.m .: The activists distribute rescue blankets on the wall. With a sit-in, they initially want to hinder the work of the police. A second row should support them. At a small entrance they have strengthened the barricades. Meanwhile, a group calls the officials “sick leave”.
08.03 a.m .: In the occupied lignite town of Lützerath, the activists are preparing for an imminent evacuation by the police. On Wednesday morning, sirens and alarm bells rang through the occupied location. “We think it’s about to start because a lot of police cars have driven here,” said a spokeswoman for the activists. “A never-ending chain of police cars drives through the opencast mine,” said the Telegram channel “Lützerath Lebt!”
Some activists climbed onto tall monopods and tripods – which are trunks tied together with platforms. They were erected in the past few days to make it as difficult as possible for the police to get to the activists.
7.55 a.m .: The emergency services are now surrounding the wall, units from Berlin are taking care of the last section. “They’re coming,” shout the activists. “Strengthen the Chains”. Sirens and alarm bells ring out through the occupied location.
7:32 a.m .: The energy company RWE has announced that it will start “dismantling” the Rhenish lignite town of Lützerath this Wednesday. “As one of the first measures, a construction fence a good one and a half kilometers long will be erected for safety reasons,” the group said in the morning. The group left it open whether the police operation to clear the site would begin and referred to the police. In turn, she again emphasized that the eviction would begin “on Wednesday at the earliest”.
7.15 a.m .: On Wednesday morning, hundreds of police forces arrive at the prepared parking lot in front of Lützerath. The evacuation of the village is likely to begin soon. After hours of rain showers, a real mud fight is to be expected.
A group of activists is holding the fort behind the fence. They report a relatively quiet, but all the wetter night. The police force is still restrained here, while the other emergency services arrive only a few meters away.
6:18 a.m .: Before the eviction expected from this Wednesday in the Rhenish lignite town of Lützerath, the police are pulling together strong forces. Around the place occupied by climate activists, dozens of police vehicles were on the road early Wednesday morning, as dpa reporters reported. It was raining heavily and continuously, the ground was soggy.
Wednesday, January 11, 6:09 a.m .: North Rhine-Westphalia’s Interior Minister Herbert Reul (CDU) was concerned about the security of the emergency services in advance. “We have a certain number of violent activists in Lützerath. Their number is currently fluctuating every day,” said Reul of the “Rheinische Post” (Wednesday). “Therefore, such an operation is always dangerous for the police, and I’m always concerned about the safety of our officers.” However, the emergency services are well trained and trained. The police are well prepared in terms of logistics and personnel.
He explained: “We don’t know what the police officers can expect in the houses in Lützerath. Are there traps or other barricades that we don’t see from the outside? We also don’t know how many people will stand in the way of the emergency services.” Reul added: “Caution is the order of the day these days.”
More news about the situation in Lützerath can be found on the next page.