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AACHEN / ERKELENZ (dpa-AFX) – In the Rhenish lignite district, climate protection activists continued to campaign for an immediate coal exit on Sunday. The protests took place on a smaller scale than the day before, as a spokeswoman for the “Endegebiet” alliance said on Sunday morning. In the morning the group declared their weekend of action over. “Everything went peacefully,” said a police spokesman in Aachen on Sunday.
Protesters had occupied an already abandoned restaurant in Keyenberg in order to celebrate “practically a new opening,” it said. Activists invited residents to have breakfast together, and a service was held in front of the former pub.
At ten o’clock the demonstrators then voluntarily left the restaurant, said the police spokesman. A police communications team was on site to get in touch with around 50 activists in the building. They stayed there while around ten people formed a vigil.
On Sunday noon, climate protection organizers called for a village and forest walk from Lützerach to the forest near Keyenberg. According to the group “Unser aller Wald”, activists had erected three tree houses up to 18 meters high in the past week to protest against the Garzweiler II opencast mine. “This is the beginning of a tree house village,” said a spokeswoman for the group.
After the end of the dispute over the Hambach Forest, the Garzweiler opencast mine has become the new center of the dispute over lignite. RWE wants to continue operating the mine until its last lignite power plant is shut down in 2038. The energy company points out that the coal phase-out law provides a guarantee of existence for Garzweiler. Several villages are to give way to excavators and residents are to be relocated.
The demonstrators accused RWE of systematically dividing village communities. As early as Saturday, “Ende Ende” and other organizations called for protests in the Rhenish lignite mining area. The end of the terrain spoke of 3,000 participants in the campaign. According to the police on Saturday, there were at least over 1000.
According to the police arrested 47 people and 64 people were taken into custody. Over 300 other participants were transported by buses from the area of the Garzweiler opencast mine because they had ignored reservations. Six police officers were reportedly slightly injured in the protests, but remained fit for duty.
At times, demonstrators succeeded on Saturday in occupying facilities on the edge of the opencast mine and in the Weisweiler power plant near Aachen. A police spokeswoman said in the evening, however, that no demonstrators had reached the direct dismantling area. A spokeswoman for “Endegebiet” described the actions as “civil disobedience”. An RWE spokesman emphasized that the operation of the plants was not restricted.
To keep demonstrators away from the mine, the police occasionally used pepper spray and police dogs. The demonstrators had previously ignored requests to stop walking towards the edge of the mine.
Lorenz Gösta Beutin, energy and climate politician of the left in the Bundestag, described the use of pepper spray as “disproportionate” and called for an internal investigation by the police: “In times of a climate crisis and a federal government in a climate coma, civil disobedience is a necessary and legitimate Protest, “said Beutin, who was on site as a parliamentary observer.
Also in front of a gas power plant in Düsseldorf, around 200 activists gathered on Saturday for an immediate end to electricity generation from gas. No demonstrations were registered for Sunday, said a police spokeswoman./szam/DP/he