Greta Thunberg has condemned the forced removal of protesters from a small West German village that is to be demolished to make way for an open pit coal mine expansion.

Speaking in Lutzerth in North Rhine-Westphalia, the climate activist said: “Germany is really embarrassing itself at the moment.

“The science is clear: we need to keep carbon in the ground.”

He claimed that “police violence” was used to remove the protesters.

Ms Thunberg plans to join a demonstration on Saturday to show “what people power looks like, what democracy looks like – when governments and corporations act like this, destroying the environment.” There are… people move on.”

Climate activists Louisa Neubauer, Greta Thunberg, Lakshmi Thivasagam, and Florian Özken protest against the expansion of German utility RWE's Garzweiler open-cast lignite mine in Luetzerath, Germany.
Thunberg with fellow protesters

After a court ruling allowed energy company RWE to go ahead with an expansion of the Garzweiler mine, hundreds of police in riot gear moved in on Wednesday, removing barricades erected by workers.

Police have said it could take weeks to resolve a dispute over a coal mine expansion, which workers have called a
A sign of Berlin’s failed climate policy amid an energy crisis in Europe’s biggest economy.

Some rocks, fireworks and other objects have been thrown at officers, but police say the protests have been largely peaceful.

Protesters occupy a tree in protest against the expansion of the Garzweiler open-cast lignite mine
Protesters have occupied the trees around the village.
A policeman clears a blocked street in the village of Luitzrath near Erkelins, Germany, Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2023.  The police have entered the condemned village and started trying to evict the activists holed up in the site in an attempt to stop its demolition.  Making way for coal mine expansion.  (AP Photo/Michael Probst)
Police personnel entered the village on Wednesday to clear the area of ​​protesters.

Environmentalists say bulldozing the village to expand the Garzweiler mine would cause huge greenhouse gas emissions.

RWE argues that coal is needed to ensure Germany’s energy security.

Police officers stand guard during a demonstration in Luetzerath, a village to be demolished for the expansion of German utility RWE's Garzweiler open cast lignite mine, on January 11, 2023 in Luetzerath, Germany.  REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay
Police stand guard outside houses, once abandoned, now occupied by protesters

Regional and national governments, including both the environmentalist Green Party, struck a deal with RWE last year allowing it to raze the abandoned village in exchange for phasing out coal use by 2030 instead of 2038. was given.

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