Greta Thunberg, a Swedish environmental activist, was freed by German police on Tuesday night after being detained earlier that day during a demonstration against the expansion of a coal mine in the western village of Lützerath, authorities said on Wednesday.
Thunberg was only held for a short time. She was free to go once (Thunberg’s) identity was confirmed, according to Max Wilmes, a police spokesperson for the city of Aachen, who talked to CNN.
Police expedited the identification process since they could recognize her name, according to Wilmes. He claimed she then awaited the release of further demonstrators.
On Wednesday, Thunberg quickly got back to his crusade, writing, “Climate protection is not a crime.”
The activist stated, “Yesterday I was a part of a group who peacefully protested the expansion of a coal mine in Germany. We were kettled by police, then detained, but were released later that evening.
According to police spokesman Christof Hüls, Thunberg was a part of a sizable number of protestors that breached a police barrier and encroached on a coal pit that authorities have not yet been able to completely protect. According to him, Thunberg has been imprisoned there twice.
German police have evicted hundreds of activists from Lützerath since last Wednesday. As previously reported by CNN, some have been residing at the location for more than two years. They are occupying homes that past occupants left vacant after being evicted, most often by 2017, to make way for the lignite coal mine.
In exchange for permitting the mine to expand into Lützerath by 2030—rather than 2038—the German government and energy firm RWE reached an agreement in 2022.
RWE intends to construct a 1.5-kilometer (0.93-mile) perimeter fence around the community when the eviction is finished, shutting off its structures, streets, and sewers before they are destroyed.
On Friday, Thunberg tweeted that she was in Lützerath to oppose the growth. She participated in the large anti-village razing protest that took place on Saturday.
“The carbon is still in the ground,” Thunberg remarked to the protesters. And the fight is not done as long as the carbon is underground.
When Thunberg was arrested for the first time on Sunday, Hüls claimed that she “surprise” returned to protest again on Tuesday.
For climate campaigners, the coal mine’s expansion is important. They contend that carrying on with coal burning will increase emissions that contribute to global warming and contravene the Paris Climate Agreement’s goal of keeping temperature increases to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. The most polluting fossil fuel is coal, and lignite is the most polluting kind of coal.
Climate strike week 230. We are currently in Lützerath, a German village threatened to be demolished for an expansion of a coal mine. People have been resisting for years. Join us here at 12 or a local protest tomorrow to demand that #LützerathBleibt !#ClimateStrike pic.twitter.com/hGrCK6ZQew
— Greta Thunberg (@GretaThunberg) January 13, 2023
Thunberg stated, “We need to stop the current degradation of our world and the sacrifice of people for the sake of short-term economic expansion and corporate greed.
Activists and police have been fighting throughout this month, and images from the events have shown police removing the protesters while wearing riot gear.
The eviction effort has involved more than 1,000 police officers. Today, the majority of the village’s structures have been demolished and replaced with digging equipment.
RWE and Germany’s Green party, which is a component of the country’s ruling coalition, both deny that the mine expansion will result in an increase in overall emissions since they argue that additional carbon emissions may be offset because of European emission restrictions.
Yesterday I was part of a group that peacefully protested the expansion of a coal mine in Germany. We were kettled by police and then detained but were let go later that evening.
Climate protection is not a crime.#LuetziBleibt #LuetziLebt #KeepItInTheGround #ClimateJustice
— Greta Thunberg (@GretaThunberg) January 18, 2023
However, a number of climate reports have made it plain that the move away from fossil fuels and toward sustainable energy must be accelerated. Additionally, recent analyses indicate that Germany might not even require the extra coal.
Even if coal plants run at maximum capacity through the end of this decade, according to a report released in August by the international research organization Coal Transitions, they currently have more coal on hand than is required.