Policemen in Lützerath
Photo: Ina Fassbender / AFP
The police are making faster progress than expected, everything is going according to plan in the evacuation of Lützerath.
On Thursday afternoon, activists published a YouTube video: Two masked people are sitting in a tunnel and explain in distorted voices how they want to delay the evacuation of the village from underground.
They call themselves »Pinky and Brain« and say: »A tunnel is harder to clear than a tree house«.
The police had to search for a long time, but have now confirmed "underground structures" in which there are people.
The tunnel is now being monitored and secured.
The action of the occupiers should actually make the evacuation of Lützerath more difficult.
At this time it is not clear how the police will find out the people.
Apart from the surprise from the underground, the second day of the operation apparently went according to plan - even if the weather made things difficult for everyone involved.
It was windy and raining heavily, the ground turned into a mud landscape.
The police cleared tree houses ten meters high, which was made difficult by stormy gusts.
It was also dangerous for the activists: "Normally they come down in a storm," said a spokeswoman for "Lützerath is alive".
evacuation in the dark
The operation continued even in the dark.
"Objects that have been addressed are still being processed," said a police spokesman.
Activists who had cemented themselves in or chained themselves were freed despite the darkness.
"In such cases we must provide assistance," said the spokesman.
However, it is not planned to start clearing other buildings during the night.
more on the subject
Dealing with climate protests in Lützerath: fire with fireThe SPIEGEL editorial by Sophie Garbe
Lützerath and the Greens: A party like any other A column by Sabine Rennefanz
Evacuation of Lützerath: "We will definitely not leave the tree house" A visit to the protest camp of Manuel Genolet and Fabian Pieper, Lützerath
In the early afternoon, police officers had brought down one of the tree houses in a controlled manner after the squatters had previously left the wooden house.
Emergency services cleared neighboring tree houses.
On the ground, excavators were already demolishing one hut after the other with their shovels.
There were isolated attacks on the officers: Stones and bottles were thrown onto a pallet truck from the squatted house "Paula", in which the "hard core" of the squatters is said to be.
In addition, some fireworks were shot in the direction of officials.
A police officer is said to have been hit by a paint bag.
According to the police, a civilian emergency vehicle caught fire near the protest camp in the neighboring town of Keyenberg.
The car was not occupied at the time and, according to a spokesman, was clearly recognizable as a police car by a blue light on the roof.
It is assumed that the perpetrator or perpetrators smashed the window and poured a flammable liquid into the car.
It is still unclear whether suspects could be identified.
Around 800 people demonstrated four kilometers from the village for the preservation of Lützerath.
The "Fridays for Future" activist Luisa Neubauer also appeared there, holding a sign that read: "Climate protection is manual work".
Later, the police surrounded several dozen participants in the demonstration on the access road to Lützerath, including Neubauer and Greenpeace board member Martin Kaiser.
The demonstrators blocked the way while sitting.
"We want to stay here until we are carried away," Neubauer told dpa.
That is exactly what happened in the afternoon. A police spokesman said the participants were on their way to the edge of the open-cast mine.
This was dangerous and had to be prevented by the police.
Protests also erupted outside of Lützerath: the radical left-wing group »Interventionalist Left« from Düsseldorf occupied the office of the state association of the Greens in North Rhine-Westphalia.
They spread out a banner that read "System Change not Climate Change" and called for a meeting with the Green Minister of Economics, Mona Neubaur.
This had negotiated with RWE that the village may be excavated, but the group will get out of coal-fired power generation earlier.
There is still at least one house in Lützerath where squatters are staying.
Because of the onset of darkness, this house should also remain occupied tonight.
The aim of the police seems to be to complete the eviction before Saturday in order to take the momentum out of the protest movement – a large demonstration has been announced for Saturday, and the activist Greta Thunberg is also said to come.