ERKELENZ (dpa-AFX) – In Lützerath at the Garzweiler opencast lignite mine, more than 1000 people demonstrated on Saturday for the preservation of the site. The protest, organized by the environmental protection organization BUND, led a demonstration around the hamlet at the edge of the opencast mine. An alliance of environmental associations and climate policy organizations had called for the rally. The police spoke of a peaceful process. The organizers indicated 2200 participants, the police came to over 1000.

    Dirk Jansen, the managing director of the BUND in North Rhine-Westphalia, criticized the fact that 280 million tons of the “climate killer lignite” are still to be mined from the Garzweiler opencast mine, despite the coal phase-out being brought forward to 2030. The Green-led economics ministries in North Rhine-Westphalia and the federal government had agreed on this with the energy company RWE. It was also agreed that five villages in the vicinity would be preserved.

    “Yes, it is a great success for the climate movement and also for the Greens here in NRW that the Garzweiler II opencast mine is being further reduced,” said Jansen. With a view to securing the coal supply in 2023, there is no need to destroy the village of Lützerath for mining.

    A spokesman for the activists who have settled in the deserted site and who want to prevent the demolition for the coal underneath, called the mining of lignite “a climate crime”. Global impacts included drought and flooding. The large open pit can be seen from Lützerath.

    The protest should last until the afternoon. Many participants came with banners they had painted themselves, which read, for example, “Stop coal”, “All villages remain” and “All of us for Lützi”. The activists living in Lützerath also took part, some masked./uho/DP/mis

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