Friday, January 13, 2023

Germany - Lutzerath's struggle - info for debate

The police have been clearing Lützerath since the early hours of Wednesday. The small village in North Rhine-Westphalia with just seven houses is roughly situated between Aachen and Düsseldorf - but above all it lies directly inside of RWE's brown coal mining area. This makes it the latest bone of contention in the climate protests in Germany.

Since the beginning of the week one thing was already clear: Lützerath will be evacuated this week. The first travel groups from Germany have already arrived in NRW and a large demonstration with Greta is planned for Saturday. But as it currently appears, the village could already be cleared by then. The police have obviously learned a lesson or two from the long clashes around Hambacher Forst. This time they went into Lützerath with relatively little warning through the lignite mining area itself and were thus able to avoid getting stuck in the blocked access roads. Even though the police, and above all NRW Interior Minister Reul, tried to portray it at the beginning of the day as if the police would encounter massive militant resistance, they now have the situation largely under their control. In the end, there was not so much to see of the permanent fire of Molotov cocktails and fireworks and the danger of possibly encountering an IED in every room, like the police's reporting made it sound like.

But not only this part of the police tactics was today different from the last time at the Hambacher Forst, during the evacuation of which an activist was killed. And that is also clear: at all costs, the Greens must avoid comparable images. So no example is made this time around - even if Molotov cocktails fly.

The problem of the Greens has become obvious today and will become even more aggravated in the coming days of the ongoing eviction. On one side are the Greens: having come into government in 2021 through their influence over the climate protests, "Fridays for Future" and a young electorate, they are the second largest party in the current government. It was Habeck himself who, together with the Minister of Economics of NRW - Mona Neubauer, also with the Greens - and RWE boss Markus Krebber, presented the deal made with RWE in October, praising it at the press conference as a "good day for climate protection." Even the person in charge at the police, the police chief responsible for the eviction, is a Green.


Neubauer Habeck Krebbe Lützerath

From left to right: Neubauer (NRW Economics Minister, Greens), Habeck (Federal Economics Minister, Greens) and Krebbe (RWE) at the press conference in October 2022 after the meeting at which it was decided to evacuate Lützerath.


On the other side are those who go to Lützerath on this day or at least sympathize with the protest there. All the reporting today clearly shows: For the interests of RWE a deal was made by the Greens and now it is the Greens who are ordering the cops to clear the protest against it and to create as little "bad press" as possible. This way, the matter is to be swept under the rug as quickly as possible, and no one is to notice its absurdity.

The role that the Greens play in this has shown itself today in a grotesque and cynical way in very clear pictures: Green MPs on the ground - in this case not on the side of the police, but in protest clothing - who are asked on camera why they are out there, when the eviction is ordered by their own party, and then get nothing more than the most pathetic stammering together; Social media and press releases from the Green Party leadership, full of expressions of solidarity with the protesters, while the press spokesman for the federal government announces that "applicable law prevails" in Lützerath and is also enforced there; protesters and activists from the climate movement with their heads stuck in the mud, while four officers kneel on their backs and twist their hands; a police chief who, in an open letter, "shows great respect for all those involved." Meanwhile, the Greens, through their handling of the coal issue, are not only alienating parts of those forces that mobilized for their election, but are even having parts of them beaten up so that their deal with RWE becomes a reality.


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