With left-wing extremist demands, some spokeswomen for the climate activists from “Lützerath Leben” caused a stir. Among other things, they called for the abolition of the police. Who are the people behind the protests, who bring such a world view to the public?

“In the medium term, we must abolish the police as an organ that primarily supports the interests of a capitalist system and repeatedly puts people’s health and lives at risk.” These words in a press release from “Lützerath Leben” leave little room for interpretation. The authors are obviously concerned with the abolition of the police as one of the pillars of our constitutional state. In addition, a good deal of antipathy towards capitalism is evident.

The press release from January 20 comes from the official press account of the climate activists, who are still demonstrating in the village in North Rhine-Westphalia even after the eviction.

In the press release, the quote is attributed to Sascha Lorenz. She is spokesperson for the “Lützerath Lebt” initiative. In an interview with WDR, the activist made it clear that for her it is about more than just protesting against climate change. “We must turn away from our current capitalist system. The fight is also taking place in Lützerath,” she said.

When asked whether this aversion should also be accompanied by a revolution, she did not answer specifically. For them, most of the violence during the evacuation of the village came from the police. For them, a change in the system therefore also includes the “abolition of the police”.

In the interview, she justified this with the fact that, according to her information, no violence had emanated from the protesters. Instead, she can understand when people are “upset and frustrated” and this shows in their behavior. This statement sounds like a justification for violence against the police.

Otherwise, Lorenz has hardly left any traces on the internet. In an interview with WDR, it was only said that the activist would call herself Sascha Lorenz. The name may be a pseudonym.

Lorenz’s colleague, Johanna Inkermann, also obviously considers the dissolution of the police to be an important step. “We have a fundamental problem in our current police force. What we need is a deep transformation of the police force,” she is quoted as saying in the Jan. 20 press release.

The Freiburg native herself lived in the occupied village of Lützerath for five months and at the same time works as a spokeswoman for the “Replace coal” group. Among other things, the initiative calls for sit-ins on coal infrastructures. In August 2019, they blocked access to the Garzweiler opencast mine and the Frimmersdorf power plant.

Even before the eviction in Lützerath, Inkermann gave only vague answers to questions about the activists’ willingness to use violence. “The climate crisis is violence and the climate crisis is being made here,” she explained in an interview with SWR.

Another spokeswoman, Lakshmi Thevasagayam, repeatedly defended the behavior of the activists in Lützerath. “This violence may not be legal, but it is very legitimate, because people all over the world die every moment the excavator comes a centimeter closer, lose their livelihoods, and our livelihoods are destroyed,” she said at a press conference last Wednesday in Erkelenz .

Thevasagayam’s family fled the civil war in what is now Sri Lanka in the early 1980s. After graduating from high school, she studied medicine and then worked as a doctor. “I wasn’t a rebel,” she told Die Zeit. Then the 28-year-old left her job and moved to Lützerath for a year.

Her family did not approve of this decision. “We didn’t flee to Germany so you could live in the forest,” her father once said to her. Thevasagayam says she understands her family, but feels she has no choice.

Behind Lorenz, Inkermann and Thevasagayam are dozens of other activists who are still holding out in the region around Lützerath. For example in Keyenberg, where around 200 activists are camping on a football field. But in the meantime, the activists seem to be encountering increasing resistance from local residents. They complain that the activists have defaced residential buildings and smashed windows.

The initiative “All Villages Remain” speaks of the occurrences of individual cases, but is prepared to pay for the damage incurred. They still want to stay. And “Lützerath Lebt” also writes on Twitter: “You want to know what the status is? We’ll keep going!” The goals of this group are clearly outside the democratic spectrum.

The CDU and FDP in NRW also see it this way: NRW Interior Minister Herbert Reul (CDU) told FOCUS Online: “Sticking to houses, blocking railway tracks or abseiling down motorway bridges doesn’t seem particularly wise to me to help people for their own project to win. The announcement of further crimes to protest for climate protection overshoots the mark. Today they call it civil disobedience. Tomorrow it’s rebellion. In the same breath, the police, capitalism and the entire state system are railed against. I watch this radicalization with great concern.”

“The hard and violent core of the so-called climate movement shows its true anti-democratic and anti-state face,” said Gregor Golland, CDU deputy leader in the state parliament, to FOCUS online. “It’s not about climate protection, but about riots and a different form of government. Bad that both members of the Bundestag and many fellow demonstrators do not distance themselves from these supposed activists.

Marc Lürbke, deputy chairman of the FDP parliamentary group in North Rhine-Westphalia, said: “You can’t reveal more openly that the militant part of the climate protection movement is not about the climate at all, but about a stage for anarchy and open hatred of our constitutional state.” And further: “Like the Greens, you can hardly complain about attacks on police forces, but at the same time continue to play down the left-wing extremist part of the climate scene. The price for this is once again being paid by our police officers, who have to take the blame. Anyone who throws stones or Molotov cocktails at police officers is not an activist, but a criminal. The peaceful climate protection movement must finally kick out enemies of the constitution and no longer associate with left-wing extremists.”

Line Nagell Ylvisaker: “My world is melting: How the climate is transforming my village”, Hoffmann and Campe Verlag, 8.99 euros