‘Mud Wizard’ mocks riot police at climate protest in Germany

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Climate activists in Germany are protesting against a coal deal between energy company RWE and the Green Party. On Saturday, the police expelled thousands of protesters who had gathered in the Lützerath settlement. Protesters used officers delayed in deep mud but were met with “pure violence”, organizers said. Something is loading.

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Climate change activists in Germany braved deep mud and ‘pure violence’, organizers say, as they clashed with police on Saturday to protest against an energy deal that will raze the abandoned village of Lützerath to expand a coal mine .

Thousands of protesters – among them Swedish activist Greta Thunberg and a person disguised as some sort of sorcerer – attempted to protect the coal under Lützerath from mining by setting up barricades and treehouses, using rope systems for evading capture and trapping officers in depth. mud.

Parts of the confrontation circulated on Reddit, with the mud magician appearing to taunt fallen or stuck officers in the mud, although the protest was not as peaceful as portrayed in some social media posts .

France24 reported that Indigo Drau, spokesperson for the protest organizers, told a press conference on Sunday that police approached protesters with “pure violence” and beat them “without restraint”, often on the head.

Police estimate that 15,000 protesters were present at Saturday’s demonstration, although organizers estimate the number closer to 35,000 according to reports. At least 20 activists were taken to hospital for treatment of injuries sustained in the clash, France24 reported Birte Schramm, a doctor with the group.

Although some stragglers remain in the area, most activists were eventually evicted and the demolition of Lützerath is underway, Politico reported.

The deal, struck between the left-wing Green political party and Germany’s biggest coal company, RWE, was touted as a climate-saving deal by the politicians who brokered it. While the deal lays the groundwork for phasing out coal in Germany by 2030, it allows RWE to demolish Lützerath as part of the company’s plan to expand the nearby Garzweiler mine.

Police in riot gear carry an activist out of the Luetzerath settlement on January 13, 2023 near Erkelenz, Germany. Sean Gallup/Getty Images

“It’s a punch that green ministers are now trying to sell this behind-the-scenes coal deal as a success,” reported Politico Olaf Bandt, chairman of the non-governmental German Federation for the Environment and Conservation of Nature. nature. “We will not accept this.”

Robert Habeck, Germany’s economy and climate minister – and a member of the Green Party who helped strike the deal – said in a video posted on Twitter that the deal is a “painful” but necessary compromise caused by the Russian invasion of Ukraine that forced Germany to restart its coal-fired power plants.

Critics argue that Germany has enough coal reserves without accessing the lignite under Lützerath and allowing RWE access to the coal will prevent Germany from meeting the CO2 budget agreed with the Paris Agreement.

Climate activist Greta Thunberg (r) stands between Keyenberg and Lützerath under police guard at the edge of the open pit and dances. Federico Gambarini/photo alliance

“Not everything surrounding the climate crisis is black or white, but it is,” climate activist Luisa Neubauer said on Twitter of the protests. “If we want to see a world with less crisis, we need the destruction of fossil fuels stopped. And we need governments to hold fossil fuel companies accountable, to put people above fuel profits. fossils.”

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