On october 31st, 2021, nearly 4,000 climate activists gathered in Lützerath to protest the village’s planned destruction in order to expand an enormous coal mine. Greenpeace, Extinction Rebellion, Fridays for Future and local collectives like “Lützerath bleibt” (Lützerath stays) and Alle Dörfer Bleiben (All the villages stay) criticized the coal company RWE, largest polluter in Europe, and called for the preservation of Lützerath and of six other villages in northern Rhineland. In the wake of the demonstration, about 350 activists from the german-wide collective Ende Gelände escaped the police squads, swarmed the mine’s outskirts and held an improvised gathering on its edge.
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Members of Extinction Rebellion hold a shout-out during the demonstration. “Shit in the pipes” / “RWE= climate and homeland killer” Activists dance during the demonstration. Activists hold the “X” sign, an anti-nuclear and generally anti-fossile fuel symbol, and a sign reading “Lützerath stays”. A demonstrator holds a sign stating “!,5°C = Lützerath Stays” “Unfuck the world” An protester holds a sign reading “No coal anymore” and harboring the faces of Olaf Scholz (SPD), Christian Lindner (Liberal party) and Anna-Lena Baerbock (Greens), who will leed Germany’s next government coalition. Protesters hold the anti-nuclear and anti-coal “X” symbol and a sign reading “1,5°C = Lützerath stays” A demonstrator hugs a dog and holds a sign reading “Lützerath stays” Climate activists build a tree house next to the huge monopod, a defensive structure for the “autonomous zone”. Ende Gelände protesters march; others hold a sign reading “One world, One climate, One future” Ende Gelände activists light a fume A protester at the demonstration A protester during the march. Lützerath is a small village in the northern Rhineland. An antifascist protester Ende Gelände activists hold together as they break through police lines Ende Gelände activists break through police lines and onto the coal site Ende Gelände activists break through police lines and onto the coal site Police officers try to stop Ende Gelände activists Ende Gelände activists break through police lines and onto the coal site Ende Gelände activists break through police lines and onto the coal site Police officers try to stop Ende Gelände activists Police officers try to stop Ende Gelände activists Ende Gelände activists break through police lines and onto the coal site Ende Gelände activists break through police lines and onto the coal site Ende Gelände activists hold a banner reading “Defend Lützerath, stop the [mine] Garzweiler” Ende Gelände activists rest on the edge of the coal mine after escaping the police Greenpeace activists hold signs reading “1,5°C = Lütherath Stays” and “Coal destroys our future” Ende Gelände activists form a line to stop police from separating them Ende Gelände activists and spokesperson Dina Hamid Police officers on foot and on horses form a circle around the activists Ende Gelände activists try to warm up as the night falls An Ende Gelände activist watches the coal mine Ende Gelände activists huddle up as night falls and rain showers. Ende Gelände activists are escorted back to the camp by the police Ende Gelände activists light a flare as they reach camp Solar panels fuel the camps electricity needs A climate activist plays with their child. About 500 hundred climate activists stay in the autonomous camp in Lützerath Climate activists gather under the circus tent for general assemblies, meetings and conferences Dry toilets in the camp Cafés and teas served in makeshift cantinas Sanitary infrastructure at the camp includes flowing water A banner depicts CDU-president, NRW-ministerpresident and chaneclor-candidate Armin Laschet as a “coal junkie” sniffing local villages away On the camp entrances. The sign reads “global solidarity with all struggles from the left and under” A tree house in the camp The anarchist symbol inside an abandoned house in Lützerath “Thes shall not pass” inside an abandoned house in Lützerath “Peace for the huts, war for the palaces” on a ruin in Lützerath The local choir “Sounds of Life” regularly holds concerts in the camp and even in the mine. A safer space for transgender, intersex, a-gender and non-binary persons An activists stays at the coal mine limit. Two activists sit on the “1,5°C-frontier” separating the mine from Lützerath. Activists project the Ende Gelände symbol through the night. Barricades are erected to stop RWE workers from starting demolition works. Activists hang a “Danni lebt” (Dannenröder forest stays” banner un solidarity with the activists at the Dannenröder forest. A cafe and solidary cantina in the camp. A banner reading “Lützerath stays” hangs on the walls of an occupied house in Lützerath An activists plays the piano inside the circus tent in the camp Alexandra Brühne, a local and member of “All the villages stay” collective. A sofa stands in the circus tent, and makeshift houses are to be seen in the background The hambach mine is being renaturalized, after years of struggle to halt its expansion into the Hmabacher forest, also occued by activists. A coal digger at the Hambach mine. The abandoned church of Manheim, a village due to be demolished and rebuilt miles further to expand the mine. An activist looks out the windows of an abanoned house in Lützerath.