BERLIN (AP) — Thousands of people protested Saturday against plans to bulldoze villages in western Germany to expand coal mines. Environmentalists say it should be closed, not expanded.
German news agency dpa reported in the afternoon that police said protests in Lützelath, about 40 kilometers (25 miles) west of Cologne, had passed peacefully. About 2,000 people attended, he dpa reported.
It was a few weeks after the last farmer in the village sold his land to utility company RWE after losing a lawsuit against eviction. The village is still inhabited by activists, some of whom built a treehouse to block the expansion of the nearby Garzweiler mine.
climate activists claim Burning coal still in the ground undermines Germany’s efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions, so the village and other nearby villages should not be demolished..
Among those who took part in the protest was Ilyess El KortbiThe Ukrainian climate activist criticized Germany’s continued purchases of coal, oil and gas from Russia, claiming it was funding Russia’s devastating war against itself.
Some German officials have countered that in order to reduce fossil fuel imports from Russia in the short term, it will need to rely on other energy sources, including lignite mined in Garzweiler.
Coal-fired power plants near mines are one of the largest emitters of carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas, in the EU.
Recent polls show a significant increase in voter support for the environmentalist Greens ahead of next month’s local elections in North Rhine-Westphalia, where the mine is located.
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