Greta Thunberg released after German police arrested her at coal

Greta Thunberg released after German police arrested her at coal mine protest

Greta Thunberg, the climate activist, was carried away by police and briefly arrested on Tuesday in a German village where demonstrators were protesting an expanded coal mine, officials said.

Ms Thunberg, 20, has joined dozens of protesters in the village of Lutzerath, some 75 miles west of Frankfurt, since the weekend, said Charly Dietz, a spokeswoman for Ende Gelände. She and other protesters blocked the front of a coal mine and did not leave after police told them to, Ms Dietz said.

Crime scene pictures showed police officers holding Ms Thunberg’s arms and legs as they carried her out of the coal mine. Ms. Thunberg later wrote on Twitter that the police let her and other protesters go that evening.

“Climate protection is not a crime,” she wrote.

Ms Dietz said it was the second time Ms Thunberg had been removed from the Lutzerath protests. Over the weekend, police officers carried Ms. Thunberg away from the demonstrations.

Ende Gelände, an alliance of climate protection groups, organized the demonstration in Lutzerath. German energy company RWE AG has planned to demolish the village to expand a coal mine into the area.

Guido Steffen, a spokesman for RWE, said Ms Thunberg and around 70 other people left a set route on Tuesday, walked across some fields and approached a steep and dangerous mine edge. Police officers approached the protesters and carried Ms Thunberg about 50 meters from the area.

“You could then go your own way,” said Mr. Steffen.

Dana Zimmermann, a spokeswoman for local police in the city of Aachen, said Ms Thunberg and her group were being held until officers collected their personal details. They were not arrested, said Ms. Zimmermann.

Ms Thunberg’s representatives did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Tuesday.

RWE announced last week that it would start demolishing Lutzerath. The company said it had obtained the necessary licenses and court orders to make room for a coal mine. No one has lived in the small village since 2017, although some squatters have occupied buildings.

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“RWE appeals to potential demonstrators not to enter the company premises, not to participate in illegal activities and to remain calm during the protest action,” the company announced last week.

Ms Thunberg is among the world’s most prolific climate activists and has spearheaded climate protests that have seen leaders punished for failing to act on climate change. She first garnered international attention in 2018 when she began cutting her ninth grade classes to sit outside the Swedish parliament building. She carried a purple backpack and a sign saying she was on strike over climate change.

Ms. Thunberg’s appearance at the protest could help draw attention to the planned colliery in Lutzerath. Ms Dietz said no one from the Ende Gelände group asked Ms Thunberg to go to the protests, but she chose to attend for some days.

She appeared at the demonstration with a cardboard sign that read “Keep It In The Ground.”

Write to Alyssa Lukpat at [email protected]

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Appeared in the print edition of January 18, 2023 as “German police remove Thunberg from mine protest”.