Activists teargassed after breaking into coal mine

Protestors who broke into a German coal mine have been teargassed by police.

The protestors, from the group EndeGelaende, stormed RWE’s Tagebau Garzweiler brown coal mine on Saturday, following an initial peaceful protest, according to RPonline.

While more than 1000 people gathered to protest the site, around 200activists are understood to have entered the mine and blocked machinery, with 30 climbing on to bucket wheel excavators in an effort to halt operations at the mine.

Soon after they first attempted to enter the site 1200 police were called, and after attempting to form a line to keep the activists out, however the confrontation soon became physical, with police firing teargas and allegedly assaulting the protestors with batons.

Nine police offers were hurt in the situation, with around 20 activists injured as well.

Several arrests were made.

EndeGelaende spokesperson Mona Bricke told RPOnline: “I have seen with my own eyes how the police have gone off with sticks and tear gas at the demonstrators, there were several injured."

Police confirmed the physical incident, stating: "At checkpoints violent demonstrators were pepper sprayed and sticks were used." 

“They had previously warned over loudspeakers the demonstrators to enter the premises and they have advised that this is a crime.” 

“The job of the police was to protect the terrain. They have just fought against the activists who tried to enter the area illegally," local police state leader Arnold Plickert explained.

"It is unfortunate, but unfortunately that is the situation.”

The protests halted two out of the six bucket wheel excavators.

The Garzweiler mine is one of the largest in Europe and covers 48 square kilometres of ground.


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