Lützerath currently: situation is stabilizing, Habeck defends eviction – politics

The evacuation of the North Rhine-Westphalian village Lützerath, which is to give way to opencast lignite mining, is running. Activists from the climate movement have been occupying the village for about two years and want to prevent the RWE energy company from digging up lignite under Lützerath. They try to prevent an eviction and sometimes engage in violent confrontations with the police. In the meantime, they have also cut down the town sign of Lützerath.

Vice Chancellor Robert Habeck defended the eviction and called for a renunciation of violence. “In my view, the empty Lützerath settlement, where no one lives anymore, is the wrong symbol,” said the Green politician on Wednesday in Berlin. There shouldn’t be any violence. “This limit must not be exceeded.”

Climate activist in the occupied lignite town of Lützerath

A climate activist sits on a wooden pole in the occupied lignite mining town of Lützerath.

(Photo: Oliver Berg/dpa)

According to a police spokesman, the situation has stabilized. The emergency services cordoned off the entire area, no one can get in without authorization. workers from RWE have now begun to fence off the area around the lignite site. The fence will be about 1.5 kilometers long.

Because there are also families with small children among the squatters, appeal to the emergency services to bring the children to safety. “Due to the far-reaching dangers in the operational area, the #Police #Aachen appeals to the legal guardians to leave the area immediately with their children,” the officials wrote on Twitter on Wednesday.

Climate activist Luisa Neubauer and a number of other celebrities, scientists, representatives of Greenpeace and other organizations have announced their visit to Lützerath for Thursday in order to show solidarity with the goals of the demonstrators. “You concede, we’re coming. The village is still standing, and above all the coal under Lützerath is still under the ground. As long as it’s there, new negotiations can be started at any time,” said Neubauer in advance.

Stones, pyrotechnics and Molotov cocktails are thrown at police officers

SZ correspondent Jana Stegemann is in Lützerath and is observing the eviction. She reports that in the morning several hundred police officers advanced in the direction of the protest camp and kept clearing obstacles. Activists had holed themselves up behind barricades, and the mood had heated up massively in some cases. On the part of some protesters, there are insults against emergency services and wrangling between the two parties.

Stegemann reports that individual bottles were thrown at police officers from the window of a house. Activists threw stones at the emergency services from rooftops. Cannon noises can be heard. The police report that stones and pyrotechnics were thrown in the direction of the emergency services. Molotov cocktails were also used. Plumes of smoke can be seen again and again in photos and videos. In one shot, an incendiary device is thrown in the direction of police officersa little later a barricade burned there.

In the morning, the police said the situation was “stable”. The emergency services cordoned off the entire area, no one can get in without authorization. Now the police are active on the entire site, removing barricades and bringing activists outside.

Everywhere in the village, numerous activists have sat on tree houses, tripods or monopods, reports SZ correspondent Stegemann. The latter are bamboo constructions in which people hang themselves high in the air. Although it takes some effort for the police to get them down from there, the demonstrators often do not put up any active, violent resistance. Stegemann suspects that the emergency services would need some time to clear the access road to Lützerath, for example, where there are many cobblestones and several barricades and several people are sitting on tripods.

Stegemann follows what is happening in various areas of Lützerath. She emphasizes that not all demonstrators are radical and violent: “There are a lot of people who are just sitting around peacefully and doing nothing but singing.” Guitars are played in tree houses, and harmonicas are played on tripods. Some activists are sitting on the ground and work their fingertips with superglue, needle and glitter: This is to prevent the police from taking fingerprints for several days.

Some peaceful activists retreated in the face of the advancing police. So they kept calling “We are peaceful, what are you?” and urged officials to join the protests. At a food counter, things are harmonious, reports Stegemann. There is fruit salad, rolls and spreads as well as oat milk, coffee and tea for the activists.

Aachen police chief Dirk Weinspach had said before the evacuation began that the emergency services were well prepared and were pursuing a de-escalating strategy. However, it is clear to him that there is a small group among the protesters who are ready to use violence. Weinspach said the police are preparing for a four-week deployment. He expects that climate activists will resist in many ways.

The energy company RWE, which wants to excavate lignite under Lützerath, has meanwhile delivered the site fences. They are supposed to surround the whole village in one and a half kilometers to mark the company’s own construction site. The remaining buildings, ancillary facilities, streets and canals of the former settlement were to be demolished there in the next few weeks. Trees and shrubs will also be removed. RWE called on the protesters to end the illegal occupation peacefully. The police had emphasized that the fence was not intended to enclose demonstrators on the Lützerath site.

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