Nine Hurt In German Police Eviction Of Anti-coal Protesters
Fakhir Rizvi 4 days ago Sun 16th September 2018 | 06:18 PM
Berlin, Sept 16 (UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News, app - 16th Sep, 2018 ) :Nine environmental activists were injured and 34 detained in an operation to evict protesters holed up in forest treehouses in a bid to block the expansion of an open-pit coal mine, police said Sunday.
The occupation began in 2012 and had until now been quietly tolerated.
But local authorities have now ordered the woods to be cleared immediately, citing fire hazards.
The activists, who are protesting the expansion of energy giant RWE's open-pit lignite mine, one of Europe's largest, had called for a mass mobilisation by supporters to prevent the forest from being cleared.
The battle has intensified since RWE announced plans to clear half of the forest's remaining 200 hectares (500 acres) from mid-October.
RWE owns the forest and is legally allowed to cut down trees to access the brown coal, or lignite, in the ground during the annual logging season.
It says the clearing is necessary to ensure energy supply, including of nearby power plants in Germany's most populous state, North Rhine-Westphalia.
Activists oppose the use of the cheap but polluting fuel, and say the forest is home to protected species such as Bechstein's bat and century-old beech and oak trees.
A government-appointed coal committee is due to announce an end date for the industry by the end of the year.
Germany has massively expanded renewable energy in recent years as part of a transition away from fossil fuels.