DAccording to their own statements, the police in Lützerath took down all the remaining activists from tree houses and trees on Sunday. “There are now only the two left in the tunnel,” said a police spokesman. The evacuation of the village of Lützerath began on Wednesday. Climate activists had occupied the abandoned village to prevent demolition and the subsequent planned dredging of the coal below.
According to the police on Sunday, more than 70 police officers were injured in the course of the evacuation. A police spokesman said most of them were injured during the protests by coal opponents on Saturday. The injuries were only partly due to violence by demonstrators. Some of the officials, for example, also twisted their ankles in the muddy ground. Demonstrators were also injured. No one knows how many there are. Since the evacuation began, around 150 criminal proceedings have been initiated, for example for resistance against police officers, physical harm and breach of the peace.
A spokeswoman for the activist group “Lützerath Leben” raised serious allegations against the police on Sunday. At the demo on Saturday there was “an unbelievable level of police violence,” she said. It was “a miracle that there have been no deaths here.” A spokeswoman for the demonstrators’ paramedic service spoke of a “high two-digit to three-digit number” of injured participants. Among them were many seriously injured and some critically injured. The injuries were partly caused by pepper spray, batons and fist attacks by the police. There were a lot of head injuries. “So the police not only hit activists in the head in individual cases, but systematically,” said the spokeswoman.
According to the police, nothing is known of any life-threatening injuries. A demonstrator fell unconscious on Saturday, a police spokesman said. This person was treated immediately and then transported away in an ambulance. It was already found in the car that there was no danger to life. Overall, the police know of ten trips by ambulances in connection with injured demonstrators. The police could not confirm that there had been a rescue helicopter operation.
The village of Lützerath, a district of Erkelenz west of Cologne, has been cordoned off by the police for days and is surrounded by a double fence. The few buildings in the settlement will be demolished to enable the energy company RWE to excavate the lignite underneath. On the other hand, many thousands of people demonstrated in the neighboring district of Keyenberg on Saturday. The police spoke of 15,000 participants, the organizers estimated the number at 35,000. On the fringes of the demonstration, there were clashes between demonstrators and the police.
It was in on Sunday night Lützerath remained calm after observation of a dpa reporter. The police, who secure the place, drove patrol again and again. The fire brigade regularly checked a ventilation device in a tunnel in which two activists are supposed to be holding out. How long it will take to get them out of there is completely unclear, said a spokesman for the energy company RWE on Sunday, whose company fire brigade took over the action described as “rescue”.
Aachen police chief Dirk Weinspach climbed into the shaft himself on Friday to get an idea of the situation. “It’s a vaulted cellar, from which a shaft of four meters goes, then a construction in the horizontal,” he said afterwards. However, he was not at the bottom of the shaft, but only at the top, where it was still reasonably safe to do so. “The construction is not safe,” was his impression. “What we have seen for draft and exhaust air is not suitable for ensuring a permanent oxygen supply there so that the CO2 content does not rise too much.” However, the fire brigade is constantly taking measurements.
The police want to continue the evacuation of Lützerath on Sunday. “It will continue throughout the day,” said a spokesman in the morning. “A few tree structures are still being checked.” According to the police, only a few activists are still in Lützerath. The number of people is estimated to be in the single digits, the spokesman said.