Greta Thunberg arrested in Germany as police crack down on a coal mining protest

During protests in North Rhine-Westphalia on January 17, 2023, police officers transport Swedish climate campaigner Greta Thunberg away from a group of protestors and activists and away from the edge of the Garzweiler II brown coal mine.

During protests in North Rhine-Westphalia on January 17, 2023, police officers transport Swedish climate campaigner Greta Thunberg away from a group of protestors and activists on the brink of the Garzweiler II opencast brown coal mine. dpa/Picture Alliance/Getty Images/Roberto Pfeil

Greta Thunberg, a climate activist, was detained by German police on Tuesday during a rally. Thunberg was arrested alongside other activists who had protested against the development of a coal mine in the village of Lützerath. Police officers in riot gear are shown in videos and images carrying the 20-year-old on her arms and legs.

According to Reuters, a German police spokeswoman said it was unclear what legal penalties Thunberg – a former TIME Person of the Year – might face.

Thunberg marched alongside thousands of demonstrators last week in Lützerath, western Germany, to prevent energy company RWE from expanding mines and bulldozing the community.

Climate activists clash with police officers on January 11, 2023, at the Garzweiler mine in Lutzerath, Germany. Hans Lucas/Red ux – Aurelien Goubau

“It is quite weird to see the German government, including the Greens, making agreements and making concessions with businesses like RWE and with fossil fuel firms when they would rather be held accountable for all the harm and destruction they have created,” Thunberg said on Saturday. “My message to the federal government is that they must immediately put a halt to what is occurring here, stop the damage, and secure climate justice for everybody.”

Environmentalists contend that dismantling the hamlet for the mine will result in increased greenhouse gas emissions, however the German government claims it is a critical source of energy for the country’s security.

On January 14, 2023, demonstrators gather beside the Garzweiler II opencast mine in Luetzerath, Germany.

attenzione/Agentur Focus/Redux – Roland Geisheimer

During the protests, the police utilized force. (According to the German news agency dpa, cops deployed water cannons and batons.) These activities were described as “outrageous” by Thunberg.

Demonstrators have seized the village for approximately two years in the intention of delaying the expansion of a neighbouring mine owned by the energy firm RWE. However, authorities began evicting these activists last week; in the first three days, police estimated roughly 470 individuals had departed, according to the Associated Press.

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