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Evacuation of Lützerath: "We will definitely not leave the tree house"

2023-01-11T23:25:51.400Z


Shortly before the police arrive in Lützerath with lifting platforms and climbing teams, activist Lamin Chukwugozie holed up in the tree house. Equipped with bread and vegan burgers, he wants to protect the place from the lignite excavator.


AreaRead the video transcript expand here

Lützerath on Wednesday morning – the police are in large numbers at the entrance to the small district of the city of Erkelenz.

Hundreds of activists do not want to give up the place and especially the coal underneath without a fight.

It's supposed to be cleared today.

24 hours before: Climate activist Lamin Chukwugozie packs the last groceries, he wants to hole up today, the supplies have to be there.

Fabian Pieper, DER SPIEGEL


"What's up?"

Lamin Chukwugozie, activist


»It's just bread and vegan burgers, I'll get lentils and... whatever else is on the list.«

Lamin Chukwugozie, as the activist from North Rhine-Westphalia calls himself here, has been living in occupied Lützerath for almost half a year – together with hundreds of like-minded people.

And this is where the 18-year-old will nest himself from tonight: a tree house at a height of about 7 meters.

Lamin Chukwugozie, activist


»The main goal is to delay the evacuation of the village as much as possible in order to prevent the destruction of the village and, of course, the mining of millions of tons of coal.

And then we'll see tomorrow morning whether they'll come to the village and try to evacuate the first people."

The young activist is optimistic about the last night before the announced eviction – but the village square will soon look very different.

The next morning, just before sunrise.

Fabian Pieper – DER SPIEGEL


»It is now around 8:20 a.m. and the night was relatively quiet.

But here on the street a confrontation line has formed, a fence has been put up.

On the one hand, the activists have entrenched themselves, on the other hand, more and more police officers are now accumulating, there is a bit of tension in the air, but overall it is calm.«

Even among the activists, the mood still seems relaxed.

Activist


»I'm great, I'm dressed rainproof, we won't let that stop us.«

Fabian Pieper


"How do you personally look to the next few hours?"

Activist


»Well, I'm determined, I'm in the right place, but I'm also a bit nervous and I hope everyone will be fine.«

Then suddenly everything happens very quickly.

Around half past eight, the first police officers run past the barricades towards the entrance to the village.

And meet human chains in different places.

But these don't last long.

The officers reach the center of Lützerath - and in addition to throwing bottles and occasional firecrackers, they also meet very peaceful squatters, such as here in the former press office of the activists.

Policeman


“Would you like to come out voluntarily?

No one?"

Group sings


»Heyho, take me by the hand, strong in solidarity we stand, fight for climate justice, fight for climate justice.«

Fabian Pieper, DER SPIEGEL


“It's about twenty minutes to ten now, the police are in Lützerath now, so the police have positioned themselves everywhere around the village square and we want to see how Lamin is doing in his tree house, he's got himself entrenched up there yesterday."

Just before we can speak to Lamin, the police give the tree house squatters an ultimatum to leave the premises.

Police announcement


"If you do not comply with this request within the next 15 minutes, you must expect immediate coercion."

Fabian Pieper, DER SPIEGEL


»You have now received an ultimatum, you are to leave the tree house in only 5 minutes – what are you going to do?«

Lamin Chukwugozie, activist


"We will definitely not leave the tree house because we won't just stand by and accept how coal continues to be burned here."

Fabian Pieper, DER SPIEGEL


»The police got to you relatively quickly and took over Lützerath.

How are you doing with that?”

Lamin Chukwugozie, activist


»Yes, it's blatant to see police everywhere in the camp now.

Now, of course, it's mainly... And the focus was on squatting building structures and squatting tripods."

Fabian Pieper


"What's your plan for the next few hours?"

Lamin Chukwugozie


»We will document exactly what is happening here and then see how we react.«

Leo, activist


"I'll make some coffee."

After almost two hours it is quiet in many places in Lützerath.

Several hundred activists are believed to be in the buildings and especially the tree houses.

The police are slowly making their way with lifting platforms and special climbing teams.

More than a thousand officers are said to be on duty.

The eviction could drag on for weeks.

But both sides are prepared for this.

Source: spiegel

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