Lutzerath: Why are people protesting at coal village where Greta Thunberg was detained?

Coal mine expansion has long been flashpoint for tensions over Germany’s energy policies

News of climate activist Greta Thunberg’s detention by police near the German village of Lutzerath has drawn further attention to controversial plans for a coal mine’s expansion, which she has labelled a “betrayal” by the government.

While perhaps the most recognisable, the Swedish campaigner is among thousands of people who have been compelled to take part in demonstrations at the North Rhine-Westphalia village in recent years, which has become a flashpoint for German climate activists seeking an end to fossil fuels.

[A]ctivists argue that fossil fuels must remain in the ground to avert climate breakdown. Addressing some 6,000 protesters marching on Lutzerath on Saturday, Ms Thunberg called the mine’s expansion a “betrayal of present and future generations”.

“Germany is one of the biggest polluters in the world and needs to be held accountable,” she said, adding: “The most affected people are clear, the science is clear, we need to keep the carbon in the ground.

“When governments and corporations are acting like this, are actively destroying the environment, putting countless of people at risk, the people step up.”

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