In Germany, anti-coal protesters defend a village threatened with disappearance

The municipality of Lützerath, like others, has long been condemned to disappear to allow the coal mine to expand. According to the organizers, some 3,500 people demonstrated on Saturday, April 23, in Lützerath, in the Rhine mining basin, just a few hundred meters from the gigantic open-pit mine of Garzweiler, regularly targeted by environmental activists. The police have not yet released the number of participants.

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About a hundred activists have decided to protest at the edge of the mine, which may turn out to be “extremely dangerous”estimated in a tweet the police of the North Rhine-Westphalia region, asking the organizers to spread the message among the protesters.

Demonstration near the village of Lützerath, in North Rhine-Westphalia, on April 23, 2022.

Reduce dependence on Russian gas

Since the invasion of Ukraine by Russia, however, the debate on coal has been revived in the country, which is very dependent on Russian gas, which until then represented some 55% of its imports. In order to ensure the production of electricity while reducing its dependence, the German government gave itself the possibility at the end of March of ” to suspend “ the closure of certain coal-fired power stations to replace Russian gas, while ensuring that the objective of phasing out coal by 2030 remains unchanged.

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“How can we trust the government’s ability to contribute to peace in Ukraine if it is destroying homes and villages in its own country for fossil fuels? »denounced Ilyess El Kortbi, Ukrainian activist of the Fridays For Future movement, quoted in a press release.

Lützerath has become the new rallying point of the German environmental movement. Activists have built huts there and are preparing for confrontation with the police. Greta Thunberg had visited the region last September.

The coal that is in the subsoil of these municipalities will be “necessary from 2024” to supply the power plants, while the other mines in the region are closing, assures the operator, the energy group RWE. Other hamlets are already completely abandoned. Most of their inhabitants have been relocated to new villages built a good distance from the mine.

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The World with AFP

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