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Thursday, February 2, 2023

Climate activists occupy giant digger at German coal mine

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Climate activists have occupied a giant digger at a coal mine in western Germany as part of a protest against the destruction of a nearby village for the expansion of a separate mine.

Energy company RWE told German news agency dpa that four people climbed onto the digger early on Monday and operations at the Hambach lignite mine have been paused.

Police have been informed of the incident, the company said.

Anti-coal group Ende Gelaende wrote on the Mastodon site that a second group of activists had climbed onto a bridge to block access to the village of Luetzerath, which has become a flashpoint for protests in the past week.

Thousands of people demonstrated on Saturday against the razing of the village by RWE for the expansion of the Garzweiler coal mine, which is about 12 miles north of Hambach.

Police and RWE began evicting activists on Wednesday from Luetzerath, removing roadblocks, chopping down treehouses and bulldozing buildings.

By Sunday, they said the operation had almost finished.

The government and RWE say the coal beneath Luetzerath is needed to ensure Germany’s energy supply in the coming years.

Environmental campaigners and scientists dispute this, and warn that burning tens of millions of tonnes of coal would undermine Germany’s climate goals.

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