The police have made further progress with the evacuation of the town of Lützerath on the edge of the Rhenish lignite mining area. The last building was evacuated on Friday, the Aachen police announced on Friday evening. However, there are still activists in treehouses, as well as several in the underground tunnel discovered Thursday. So far they have refused to voluntarily leave the tunnel, police said.
The evacuation of the abandoned village on the edge of the Garzweiler opencast mine began on Wednesday and progressed rapidly. “We’ve made much more progress than we thought,” a police spokeswoman told Phoenix on Friday. The mission could potentially be completed sooner than expected.
Announced relocation of the protests
“Unfortunately, the police are in the village faster than expected,” a spokeswoman for the Lützerath initiative admitted in a video posted on Twitter. She announced that the protests would be moved to the mining area.
According to the police, several hundred activists ran on Friday afternoon from nearby Keyenberg across fields and country roads towards the edge of the open-cast mine. This group was inter alia stopped by the police with cavalry squadrons “even with direct force, before they reached the danger zone”. A smaller protest group blocked a service road on the L 12, according to police, but left after an hour.
Attacked with stones and bags of paint
The evacuation of Lützerath is accompanied by sometimes violent resistance. According to the police, officials were repeatedly shot at with fireworks, stones and bags of paint.
A total of 124 people were shown
According to the Aachen police, since the start of the eviction on Friday evening, criminal charges have been filed against 124 people, in particular for resisting police officers and for violation of public order. Aachen’s police chief, Dirk Weinspach, emphasized that the emergency services were “very careful” with the occupiers when evacuating Lützerath.
Thousands of people are expected to demonstrate on Saturday against the eviction of the settlement near Lützerath. The demonstration involves the initiatives All Villages Remain, Fridays for Future and environmental organization BUND.
Climate activists Greta Thunberg and Luisa Neubauer are also expected to join the protest. Thunberg already visited Lützerath on Friday and sharply criticized the police’s actions in evacuating the Rhineland village. “It is outrageous how the police brutality is,” she found it “shocking” what is happening there.
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