Greta Thunberg detained by police while taking part in German coal mine protest

Greta Thunberg detained by police while taking part in German coal mine protest

Climate activist Greta Thunberg was among climate activists detained during protests against the demolition of the coal village of Luetzerath on Tuesday, according to police.

Thunberg was detained while protesting at the open-cast coal mine of Garzweiler 2, some 9 kilometres from Luetzerath.

Thunberg, who joined the protesters last week, was seen sitting alone in a large police bus after having been detained, a Reuters witness said.

What is happening in Luetzerath, Germany?

Hundreds of climate activists resumed their demonstrations across western Germany on Tuesday against the ongoing destruction of a village to make way for a coal mine expansion, German news agency dpa reported.

It comes just two days after the last two activists holed up in a tunnel beneath the village were removed from the site.

Activists were evicted from the tiny hamlet of Luetzerath last week after occupying it in protest of the demolition. It has since been sealed off, roadblocks removed and treehouses and buildings bulldozed.

But the village has become the centre of Germany's climate debate and protests have continued in North Rhine-Westphalia.

Ministers and energy company RWE say that the lignite from the mine will ensure Germany's short term energy security following Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Activists say this is the most polluting form of coal and want the government to take immediate action on fossil fuels.

REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay
Activists blocked roads as part of the protests in North Rhine-Westphalia. - REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay

On Tuesday, climate activists glued themselves to a main street in Germany's western city of Cologne and to a state government building in Duesseldorf. Others occupied railway tracks to the Neurath power station near Rommerskirchen. Those who refused to leave were reportedly carried away by police. 

Hundreds of activists joined a protest near the village of Luetzerath where there were clashes with police, according to dpa. Several ran over to the edge of the Garzweiler open pit mine and stood at the edge.

Federico Gambarini/dpa via AP
Police officers carry Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg away from the edge of the Garzweiler II opencast lignite mine. - Federico Gambarini/dpa via AP

Thunberg was not arrested, according to police, but carried away alongside other protestors for identification.

Officers say she was part of the group that "stormed" towards the edge of the open cast mine which they describe as "steep and extremely dangerous".

The Swedish climate activist joined protesters at the village over the weekend.

"We are currently in Lützerath, a German village threatened to be demolished for an expansion of a coal mine," she tweeted on Friday (13 January).

"People have been resisting for years."

It is the second time Thunberg has been detained in two days after she was led away by police during another coal mine protest on Sunday.