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(new: information from the police added)
ERKELENZ / AACHEN (dpa-AFX) – In the Rhenish lignite mining district, climate protection activists demonstrated on Saturday for an immediate end to electricity generation from coal and gas. The police were on duty with a large number of officers from several federal states. They were supposed to prevent the demonstrators from entering the Garzweiler opencast mine. The alliance Ende Gelände and other organizations called for the actions. Ende Gelände spoke of 3,000 participants in the campaign. According to the police, there were at least over 1,000.
At times, demonstrators managed to occupy facilities on the edge of the opencast mine and in the Weisweiler power station near Aachen. A police spokeswoman said in the evening, however, that no demonstrators had reached the direct dismantling area. A spokeswoman for the end of Gelnde described the actions as “civil disobedience”. An RWE spokesman emphasized that the operation of the plants was not restricted.
In order to keep demonstrators away from the mine, the police occasionally used pepper spray and police dogs, as a police spokeswoman in Aachen confirmed. The demonstrators had previously ignored requests on several occasions not to continue walking towards the edge of the mine.
According to the police, five police officers were injured on Saturday, but they were able to serve. One person was arrested. The Aachen police chief Dirk Weinspach had announced a consistent intervention in violent and illegal actions.
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. Several villages should give way to the excavators. The energy company points out that there is a guarantee of existence for Garzweiler in the coal phase-out law.
The All villages remain initiative mobilized on Saturday with a protest march against the dismantling plans. Demonstrators occupied an abandoned restaurant in Keyenberg on Saturday. They accused RWE of systematically dividing village communities. According to information from RWE, the resettlement of the 1500 residents of the villages is already well advanced. Most would have decided to start over together.
This time the protests are not just directed against lignite. The police also announced that around 200 demonstrators moved in front of a gas power plant in Dsseldorf. In addition, demonstrators occupied a construction site for a new pipeline between the Netherlands and Westphalia. Gas is also “extremely harmful to the climate,” said a spokeswoman for the end of the terrain. Therefore, all fossil fuels must be phased out immediately.
On Friday, tens of thousands of people took to the streets in Germany for climate protection at the request of Fridays for Future. All over the world, the demonstrators called for the phasing out of the use of coal and oil to be accelerated in order to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees – for this, from the point of view of scientists, a radical change of direction would be imperative./hff/DP/nas