Greta Thunberg mingled with the demonstration near Lützerath on Tuesday. The first excavators had been occupied. New protest actions are also reported in the Inden opencast mine and at the Neurath power plant. The activists complained of serious injuries caused by the police operation. Now they have to retract their statements. The situation in Lützerath in the Newsticker.
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 the normal rescue service works. “We wanted to make sure everyone was getting the best medical care possible.”
In addition, it is the goal 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 identification purposes,” 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 line for a protest.
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 determined.
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.
11.47 a.m .: A speaker speaks of disturbing images in the course of the evacuation: of emergency services breaking windows or cutting through trusses. Nevertheless, positive things stick, from dancing evenings together or squirrels looking through the window into the tree house in the morning.
“The police are lying, bludgeoning and risking lives,” accuses another activist of the emergency services. Even if the police press department denies it, the activists know about their experiences.
“We are stable,” says a speaker about the ongoing disruptive actions. Whether in opencast mining or blocking the roads that the coal transporters want to pass, activists are currently setting signs against coal mining. At the rally, they observed a minute’s silence to say goodbye to their beloved Lützerath.
11.20 a.m .: Activists have already occupied excavators in the individual sections of the opencast mine, the so-called fingers, in Lützerath during the night. After the evacuation of the village, the demonstrations at the protest camp in Keyenberg should continue. A large group of demonstrators are currently marching through the town with banners. Among them was the well-known Swedish activist Greta Thunberg, as reported by FOCUS online reporter Niklas Golitschek.
The police observed the protesters from the air with a police helicopter. Drones also monitor what is happening. Two cavalry squadrons are said to have posted themselves on the field.
Update from 9:29 a.m .: After the eviction of Lützerath, opponents of coal continued their protests in several places in North Rhine-Westphalia on Tuesday morning. A bucket-wheel excavator was manned in the Inden open-cast lignite mine and had to stop working as a result. The Aachen police spoke of around 20 activists involved, a spokesman for the energy company RWE of 30 to 40.
According to police and RWE information, a group of around 20 activists also occupied factory railway tracks to the Neurath power plant near Rommerskirchen. There were initially no riots at any location. “There is no coal train here today. We stand in the way of destruction with our bodies,” the alliance “Ende Gelände” tweeted over a photo of activists in white body suits on train tracks. “Climate protection remains manual work!”
The police forces prepared themselves for several spontaneous, decentralized actions. The action alliance “Lützerath Unräumbar”, which also includes groups from Fridays For Future and Last Generation, had previously called for a joint day of action on Tuesday.
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. She also had no diagnostic equipment available.
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 are clearing the right-hand parking lane for cars to get through. Only trucks should apparently 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 required. “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.
More news about the situation in Lützerath can be found on the following pages.