Greta Thunberg joins protests at German village under threat of destruction over coal mine

Greta Thunberg has condemned the forced removal of protesters from a small village in western Germany that is due to be demolished to accommodate the expansion of an open coal mine.

Speaking in Lutzerath in North Rhine-Westphalia, the climate activist said: "Germany is really embarrassing itself right now.

"The science is clear: we need to keep the carbon in the ground."

She went on to claim that "police violence" was used in the removals of protesters.

Ms Thunberg plans to join a demonstration on Saturday that will "show what people power looks like, what democracy looks like - that when government and corporations act like this, destroying the environment... the people step up."

Following a court decision allowing energy company RWE to proceed with the expansion of the Garzweiler mine, hundreds of police in riot gear moved in on Wednesday, clearing barricades erected by the activists.

Police have said it could take weeks to resolve the standoff over the coal mine expansion, which activists see as a
symbol of Berlin's failing climate policy amid an energy crisis in Europe's biggest economy.

Some stones, fireworks and other objects have been thrown at officers but police said the protests have been largely peaceful.

Environmentalists say bulldozing the village to expand the Garzweiler mine would result in huge amounts of greenhouse gas emissions.

RWE argues that coal is needed to ensure Germany's energy security.

The regional and national governments, both of which include the environmentalist Green party, reached a deal with RWE last year allowing it to destroy the abandoned village in return for ending coal use by 2030, rather than 2038.