Greta Thunberg carried out of coal protest by German police, detained briefly

She was released on the same day.

Zoe Ern Yap | January 20, 2023, 02:08 AM

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Climate activist Greta Thunberg, 20, took part in a protest near an empty village of Lützerath and was detained twice while doing so.

The village will be destroyed to make way for energy company RWE to extract more coal and climate activists are not happy about it.

Being hauled away by German police

Prior to being detained for the second time on Jan. 17, Thunberg was being carried away from the edge of an open coal pit mine by three police officers.

Thunberg was seen smiling or at least unperturbed when she was hauled away by the police.

The German police said that Thunberg and other protesters were being carried "out of the immediate danger area" to "establish their identity”.

Thunberg was being released on the same day.

Unfazed, she confirmed on Twitter that she was released that evening, saying "climate protection is not a crime".

More about the protest

Around 700 protesters had occupied the empty village of Lützerath after residents were relocated two and a half years ago, The Guardian reported.

Lützerath is a village that locates near Garzweiler mine. 

Last year, the German government allowed the energy company RWE to clear Lützerath so as to extract more coal from the mine.

The government claimed that it needed to do so in order to keep up with the country's energy demand after Russia cut its supply of natural gas to Europe.

In return, RWE has agreed to end coal use by 2030, instead of 2038. Villagers living near Garzweiler mine were also spared from eviction except those living in Lützerath.

However, by falling back on the use of coal, the most pollutive type of fossil fuel, climate activists see this as a setback for Germany's climate commitment.

The number of protesters at the village of Lützerath swelled in recent weeks as more activists from other parts of Germany and around the world joined in to protest against the coal expansion.

Thunberg joined the protest

Thunberg revealed in a Jan. 13 tweet that she was in Lützerath and asked for more people to join.

On Jan. 14, she addressed approximately 6,000 protesters who marched towards Lützerath on Saturday, denouncing the expansion of the mine as a “betrayal of present and future generations.”

“Germany is one of the biggest polluters in the world and needs to be held accountable,” she said.

Headed to Davos

After joining the protests in Germany, Thunberg joined other climate activists in meeting the executive director of the International Energy Agency (IEA) on the sideline of the World Economic Forum (WEF) annual meeting in Davos on Jan. 19. Reuters reported.

The activists shared about their "cease-and-desist" online petition which has gained traction, garnering over 900,000 signatures at the time of writing.

The petition demands fossil fuel CEOs to "immediately stop opening any new oil, gas, or coal extraction sites, and stop blocking the clean energy transition we all so urgently need", threatening legal action against them and more protests if ignored.

"As long as they can get away with it they will continue to invest in fossil fuels, they will continue to throw people under the bus," Thunberg said.

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Top left image: Roberto Pfeil/picture alliance/Getty Images and right image: Greta Thunberg's Twitter