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Greta Thunberg news – live: Climate activist detained during protest in Germany

Swedish climate activist has hit out at German government’s ‘shameful’ deal to demolish coal village

Andy Gregory
Tuesday 17 January 2023 19:42 GMT
Greta Thunberg carried out and detained at protest by German police

Greta Thunberg has been detained during a protest at a coal mine in Germany.

The Swedish climate activist was photographed being carried away from the mine in North Rhine-Westphalia by multiple police offiers and was later witnessed sitting alone on a large police bus.

Demonstrators have long opposed the deal struck by the German government to demolish the village of Luetzerath to make way for the expansion of the Garzweiler 2 coal mine – but protests came to a head last week as police cleared the village, leading to violent clashes.

Ms Thunberg was among 11 demonstrators forcibly ejected by police on Sunday, and was again carried away by officers on Tuesday after police claimed she was among a group of demonstrators who “rushed towards the ledge” of the opencast mine.

It was not yet clear what would happen to Ms Thunberg or the group she was detained with, or whether an activist who supposedly jumped into the mine was injured, Aachen Police said.


We’re pausing updates on the blog for this evening, thanks for following here.

You can read more in our report on today’s developments:

Greta Thunberg detained during coal mine protest in Germany

Renowned campaigner photographed being carried away from mine by officers

Andy Gregory17 January 2023 19:40

Good afternoon, we’re setting up this liveblog to keep you informed of the latest developments after police said Greta Thunberg had been detained at a protest in Germany.

Andy Gregory17 January 2023 17:52

Greta Thunberg detained during coal mine protest in Germany, police say

Here is what the police have said about Greta Thunberg’s detention, while protesting the expansion of a coal mine in North Rhine-Westphalia and destruction of a nearby village.

“Greta Thunberg was part of a group of activists who rushed towards the ledge. However, she was then stopped and carried by us with this group out of the immediate danger area to establish their identity,” a spokesperson for Aachen police told Reuters, adding that one activist had jumped into the mine.

Footage showed a police officer telling the group: “We are going to use force to bring you to the identity check, so please cooperate.”

Andy Gregory17 January 2023 17:54

Police officers pictured carrying activist away

Here are images from the scene taken by photojournalist, showing Greta Thunberg being carried away by police officers and sitting alone on what is reportedly a large police bus:

Police officers carry Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg away from the edge of the Garzweiler II opencast lignite mine
Police officers carry Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg away from the edge of the Garzweiler II opencast lignite mine (AP)
(REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay)
Andy Gregory17 January 2023 18:00

Greta Thunberg forcibly removed from protest site two days earlier

This is not the Swedish activist’s first brush with German police in recent days.

Greta Thunberg was forcibly removed from the protest site at Luetzerath by police officers after they refused to comply with orders to vacate the area, local newspaper Bild reported.

Ms Thunberg left the coal mine site at 5.10pm local time and headed to the nearby village of Keyenberg. My colleague Stuti Mishra has more in this report:

Greta Thunberg physically removed from protest site by police in Germany

More than 70 police officers and nine climate activists have been reportedly injured during clashes between the two sides

Andy Gregory17 January 2023 18:12

Why are people protesting at the site?

Protests over the past two years have drawn thousands of people to the coal village of Luetzerath, which has become a flashpoint for tensions over Germany’s energy policies in the face of the climate and inflationary crises.

The government plans to demolish Lutzerath – as part of a “compromise” deal reached with energy giant RWE last year allowing it to destroy the abandoned village in return for ending coal use by 2030, rather than 2038.

The Green Party, which has power both locally and in the ruling national coalition, argues that the deal fulfills many of environmentalists’ demands and has saved five other villages from demolition.

But protesters have squatted in the village for two years, and violent clashes were reported at the village as police sought to clear it, with scores of people allegedly injured.

Andy Gregory17 January 2023 18:18

Watch: Greta Thunberg detained by German police during protest

Greta Thunberg carried out and detained at protest by German police
Andy Gregory17 January 2023 18:25

Greta Thunberg and fellow detainees to be released today, say police

Greta Thunberg and her fellow detainees will be released later today, a spokesperson for Aachen Police has said.

“There is no reason to hold them for days. It might take hours or they will go immediately,” the spokesperson told Reuters.

Andy Gregory17 January 2023 18:35

What did Greta Thunberg tell protesters at the site?

On Saturday, Greta Thunberg addressed roughly 6,000 protesters who marched towards the village of Lutzerath, calling the expansion of the mine “shameful” and 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, adding: “The most affected people are clear, the science is clear, we need to keep the carbon in the ground.

“When governments and corporations are acting like this, are actively destroying the environment, putting countless pf people at risk, the people step up.”

Andy Gregory17 January 2023 19:01

Anti-mining protests continue across North Rhine-Westphalia

Greta Thunberg was among hundreds of people who resumed anti-mining protests at multiple locations in North Rhine-Westphalia today.

Elsewhere in western Germany, dozens of climate activists glued themselves to a main street in Germany’s western city of Cologne and to a state government building in Duesseldorf.

Near Rommerskirchen, a group of about 120 activists also occupied the coal railroad tracks to the Neurath power plant, according to police and energy company RWE. Those who refused to leave the tracks were carried away, dpa reported.

In addition, several people occupied a giant digger at the coal mine of Inden.

Associated Press17 January 2023 19:28

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