OAN Roy Francis
UPDATED 10:42 AM PT – Tuesday, January 17, 2023
German police reportedly detained 20-year-old activist Greta Thunberg after she joined thousands of protestors at the planned expansion of the Garzweiler coal mine.
The demolition of Luetzerath, an abandoned village in the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia, was set to take place on Sunday to make way for the expansion of the Garzweiler coal mine.
Thousands of protestors, along with the self-proclaimed Swedish “autistic climate justice advocate,” showed up on Saturday to protest the demolition.
Protestors clashed with police after they made their way through the nearby village of Keyenberg and through muddy fields in western Germany.
Thunberg failed to comply with police requests to leave the site and was carried away by two police officers to be detained.
Environmentalists claimed that bulldozing the village to expand the mine would result in huge amounts of greenhouse gas emissions. However, the German government and utility company RWE argued that the coal from the mine is needed to ensure Germany’s energy security.
Ensuring energy security has become a top priority in the area ever since Russian President Vladimir Putin invaded Ukraine almost a year ago.
The German government had reached a deal with RWE last year that allows it to destroy the abandoned village and in return, they would end coal use in 2030, rather than in 2038. Activists rejected the stance which led to the protests and confrontation between the police and activists.
Protestors had been arriving at the village for weeks, with the largest amount arriving on Saturday. The police started the eviction of climate activists on Wednesday morning.
Police said they have removed nearly 300 people from Luetzerath so far, with 12 people being detained in connection with Saturday’s incidents.
Thunberg had been briefly detained after refusing to comply with police orders to leave the area for her own safety. She was later released.
According to local reports, 70 police officers were injured and nine protestors were transported to the hospital during the weekend. However, organizers of the protests claimed that several demonstrators were critically injured.