During a demonstration Tuesday near a German hamlet being destroyed to make way for a coal mine expansion, Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg was taken away and imprisoned, according to police.
Greta Thunberg has been in Germany for a number of days in support of the anti-demolition demonstrations that have come to represent the opposition to fossil fuels.
Images showed the activist being picked up by cops wearing helmets and then being brought to a waiting bus. The person was wearing all black.
An activist group was taken into prison, according to a police spokeswoman, when they “broke away from the demonstration” and ran toward the edge of an open pit.
A decision regarding the next course of action would be made later, she said, while officials worked to identify the detained protesters.
The spokesperson stressed that the campaigners had not really been detained.
In a massive protest against the hamlet’s demolition on Saturday, Thunberg marched in front of a parade with thousands of other protesters.
Greta Thunberg called the German government’s “deals and compromises with fossil fuel companies” “shameful.”
The police operation to remove them came to an end on Monday when the final two climate activists who had been occupying the hamlet to stop it from being destroyed departed their underground shelter.
To try to stop the expansion of the nearby Garzweiler open-cast coal mine, about 300 protestors had taken over the community and set up camp among the trees and vacant buildings.
As plans for the extension of RWE’s open-cast mine, one of the biggest in Europe, continue forward, Luetzerath’s original occupants have been gone for a while.
Police started an operation last week to evict the protest camp. They made faster progress than they had anticipated, and by Sunday, all but the final two had been found hiding in a tunnel they had dug themselves under the community.
Even though thousands of people participated in a protest on Saturday with signs like “Stop coal” and “Luetzerath lives,” the operation finished despite that.
After conflicts between attendees and police that left both sides hurt, protest organizers accused authorities of “violence.”
A compromise agreement between RWE and the government, led by Social Democrat Chancellor Olaf Scholz, granted authorization for the mine’s expansion.
According to the agreement reached in October, Luetzerath would be destroyed while five other communities will remain standing.
RWE also pledged to stop using coal to produce power in western Germany by 2030, which is eight years sooner than originally anticipated.
Germany has turned to coal in place of Russian gas after the invasion of Ukraine and the restarting of idled power units.
To ensure Germany’s continued access to electricity, the mine must be extended.
Activists contend that Germany will miss its commitments under the important Paris climate agreements if the coal is extracted.