German Police Conclude Forced Eviction of Town to Facilitate Lignite Energy Production

Police Evacuate Lützerath Lignite Mine After Activists’ Strong Resistance

On January 15, 2023, the Aachen police confirmed that their eviction operation at the Lützerath opencast lignite mine after strong resistance from environmental activists had concluded. Andreas Müller, a spokesman for the Aachen police, in statements to the ntv network specified that is was “a rescue operation” taking place at the facilities of the energy consortium. The buildings were evacuated on Friday of last week and almost 300 activists were evacuated from the area.

On Saturday, a broad alliance of organizations opposing lignite mining and the demolition of Lützerath held a march in which Greta Thunberg particiapted. During the march, protesters tried circumventing police barries to access the cordoned-off town and the edge of the mine, resulting in water cannons, pepper spray and batons being used and twelve arrests taking place. Müller defended the police actions, claiming the protesters were “consciously and deliberately seeking confrontation”.

154 criminal investigations have been opened and 87 police officers have been injured. 32 tires of car belonging to the security forces were also punctured. The German government’s plan is to abandon the use of coal in North Rhine-Westphalia by 2030, but due to last year’s agreements with the energy company RWE, it is expected to increase lignite extraction.

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