German police arrested climate activist Greta Thunberg in a Protesting the expansion of a coal mine in the West German village of Lützerath.
Police spokesman Christoph Holz told CNN on Tuesday that this is the second time Thunberg has been detained at the site. Halls said she was part of a large group of protesters who breached a police barricade and walked past a coal pit that authorities had been unable to fully secure.
After the group advanced to the colliery, the police were concerned that “crowds of protesters” could clear the way after the rain had eased over the previous few days. Officers intervened, removing people from the “danger zone” and arresting them, among them Thunberg, according to police.
“We knew who she was, but she didn’t get the VIP treatment,” Halls said. “I did not resist.”
Thunberg was the keynote speaker at the rally on Saturday and “surprisingly” returned to protest on Sunday when she was arrested for the first time and then again on Tuesday, he said.
Police said the group, who were detained on Tuesday, would be released later in the day. Reuters reported.
Thunberg joined thousands of other activists and protesters who took part in weekend demonstrations against the destruction of the German village that would make way for the expansion of the Garzweiler coal mine owned by European energy giant RWE. Once the evacuation is complete, RWE plans to build 1.5 km perimeter fence around the village, which led to the closure of the village’s buildings, streets and sewers before it was demolished.
Coal mine expansion is important to climate activists. They argue that continuing to burn coal for energy will increase greenhouse emissions and violate the Paris climate agreement’s ambition to limit global temperature rise to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels. Lignite is the most polluting type of coal, itself the most polluting fossil fuel.
Thunberg tweeted on Friday that she was in Lützerath to protest expansion, and asked others to join. On Saturday, Thunberg addressed the activists. “The carbon is still in the ground,” she said. “As long as there is carbon in the Earth, this struggle is far from over.”
“We need to stop the current destruction of our planet and the sacrifice of people in favor of short-term economic growth and corporate greed,” she said.
Clashes between activists and police continued this month, and images from the protests showed policemen in riot gear removing protesters. Some of the protesters have been in Lützerath for more than two years, CNN reported previouslyIt occupied homes abandoned by former residents after they were vacated to make way for the colliery.
More than 1,000 policemen took part in the evacuation. Most of the village buildings have been cleared and replaced with digging machines.
Both RWE and Germany’s Green Party reject the claim that expanding the mine will increase overall emissions, saying that European caps mean additional carbon emissions can be offset. But many climate reports have made clear the need to accelerate clean energy and the shift away from fossil fuels. Recent studies also suggest that Germany may not even need the extra coal. that August report The international research platform Coal Transitions found that even if coal plants were operating at very high capacity through the end of this decade, they already had more coal available than is needed from current supplies.
This story has been updated with more information.
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