Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

Germany: Climate Activists End Coal Blockade in Garzweiler

Climate
Protestors and police stand on ether side of railway tracks. dpa / picture-alliance

Police have cleared 250 climate activists who stayed overnight at the Garzweiler brown coal mine in western Germany, officials said Sunday.


However, some protesters were still blocking nearby train tracks that usually serve as a coal transport route from one of Germany's biggest open-pit mines, near the cities of Düsseldorf and Cologne.

Spokeswoman Kathrin Henneberger confirmed the protesters had now left the mine.

"In the morning, there was a brief escalation with the police. Officers encircled a group, although all participants intended to clear the area around 10 a.m. as agreed and announced," Henneberger told Germany's dpa news agency.

Activists Stormed the Mine

Around 1,000 activists from the Ende Gelände (End of the Line) group marched to the huge mine on Saturday, before breaking through a police line and storming the pit.

Wearing white overalls, the protesters could be seen on videos published online, hooting and clapping as police ordered them to stay put.

Protesters and police accused each other of combative behavior in the mine, causing injuries. Police said eight officers were hurt in scuffles with protesters.

Police deployed pepper spray and eventually pulled some protesters from the site, citing safety concerns.

Weekend of Rallies

Ende Gelände describes itself as a civil disobedience protest movement to limit global warming.

Although the Ende Gelände protest grabbed most of the headlines, it was a small part of a much larger rally on Saturday from the town of Keyenberg along the edge of the mine.

The 8,000-strong protest included students from the Fridays for Future rallies against climate change, a youth movement started last year by 16-year-old Swede Greta Thunberg.

That, too, was dwarfed by the estimated 40,000 attendees from across Europe that came to the nearby city of Aachen on Friday to campaign for more action on climate change.

Garzweiler and the nearby mine at Hambach have been the focus of many protests in recent years because of plans to cut down an old-growth forest to enlarge both mines.

Months of climate protests by students, and a sharp rise in the polls for Germany's Green party, has prompted Chancellor Angela Merkel to throw her weight behind the goal of making Germany climate neutral by 2050.

That would mean Europe's largest economy would no longer add greenhouse gases to the atmosphere.

However, European Union leaders failed this week to agree on how to make the whole bloc carbon neutral by 2050.

Reposted with permission from our media associate Deutsche Welle.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

A man pushes his mother in a wheelchair down Ocean Drive in South Beach, Miami on May 19, 2020, amid the novel coronavirus pandemic. CHANDAN KHANNA / AFP via Getty Images

The U.S. reported more than 55,000 new coronavirus cases on Thursday, in a sign that the outbreak is not letting up as the Fourth of July weekend kicks off.

Read More Show Less
To better understand how people influence the overall health of dolphins, Oklahoma State University's Unmanned Systems Research Institute is developing a drone to collect samples from the spray that comes from their blowholes. Ken Y. / CC by 2.0

By Jason Bruck

Human actions have taken a steep toll on whales and dolphins. Some studies estimate that small whale abundance, which includes dolphins, has fallen 87% since 1980 and thousands of whales die from rope entanglement annually. But humans also cause less obvious harm. Researchers have found changes in the stress levels, reproductive health and respiratory health of these animals, but this valuable data is extremely hard to collect.

Read More Show Less

Sunscreen pollution is accelerating the demise of coral reefs globally by causing permanent DNA damage to coral. gonzalo martinez / iStock / Getty Images Plus

On July 29, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed into law a controversial bill prohibiting local governments from banning certain types of sunscreens.

Read More Show Less
Oat milk is popping up at coffee shops and grocery stores alike, quickly becoming one of the trendiest plant-based milks. jacqueline / CC by 2.0

By Kelli McGrane

Oat milk is popping up at coffee shops and grocery stores alike, quickly becoming one of the trendiest plant-based milks.

Read More Show Less

"Emissions from pyrotechnic displays are composed of numerous organic compounds as well as metals," a new study reports. Nodar Chernishev / EyeEm / Getty Images

Fireworks have taken a lot of heat recently. In South Dakota, fire experts have said President Trump's plan to hold a fireworks show is dangerous and public health experts have criticized the lack of plans to enforce mask wearing or social distancing. Now, a new study shows that shooting off fireworks at home may expose you and your family to dangerous levels of lead, copper and other toxins.

Read More Show Less
Billions worth of valuable metals such as gold, silver and copper were dumped or burned last year as electronic waste produced globally jumped to a record 53.6 million tons. Curtis Palmer / CC by 2.0

By Ashutosh Pandey

Billions worth of valuable metals such as gold, silver and copper were dumped or burned last year as electronic waste produced globally jumped to a record 53.6 million tons (Mt), or 7.3 kilogram per person, a UN report showed on Thursday.

Read More Show Less

Trending

A women walks with COVID-19 care kits distributed by Boston's Office of Neighborhood Services in Boston, Massachusetts on May 28, 2020. The pandemic has led to a rise in single-use plastic items, but reusable bags and cloth masks can be two ways to reduce waste. JOSEPH PREZIOSO / AFP via Getty Images

This month is Plastic Free July, the 31 days every year when millions of people pledge to give up single-use plastics.

Read More Show Less