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Direct action in Lützerath

In January 2023, I joined protesters and climate activists gathered near the village of Lützerath to try preventing its destruction by the coal industry: there are about 280 Million tons of coal under the village, and the coal company RWE wants to burn it all for profit.

Here’s a visual report, a selection of photos over 10 days of protests and actions.

If you’re familiar with my work as an activist, you’ve probably seen these images before: The Hambach / Garzweiller coal mine in Germany, largest source of CO2 emissions in Europe, poisoning the air, destroying forests, villages, churches, displacing populations, all for the profit of a few.
See my film Slow violence, and previous climate actions.

The village of Lützerath is particularly symbolic as it has been occupied by climate activists since 2021 to prevent its destruction by the coal industry. However in early January 2023, the Police was sent to attack the activists and protect the big coal excavators and allow the slow destruction of the village.

Those pictures may look like a dystopian movie, but it captures the state of fossil fuel politics in 2023.

Here are the first protesters approaching Lützerath.
Later, 35.000 people joined the protest.
You could see people coming, all the way to the horizon.

All the riot Police of Germany was sent to protect the coal. All of them.
Despite this huge demonstration of state repression, the police was outnumbered and overwhelmed.
Protesters rapidly passed all the police blockades to get closer to Lützerath to try joining the few activists still present inside the village and resisting against the eviction.

Extreme brutality, intimidation and unjustified violence were the main tools used by the police that day.

Full twitter thread on Police violence in Lützerath.

The amount of public money wasted to serve the interests of the coal industry is colossal.

view original tweet

This is how our taxes are spent.

To protect coal mining.

Welcome to 2023.

view original tweet

Sadly, the use of extreme violence by the police prevented activists, mostly young people, families, children and grand parents to enter the village. In the following days, several actions from groups such as Ende Geleande, Extinction Rebellion, Letzte Generation and Fridays for Future managed to disrupt the coal infrastructure in the region: an excavator was occupied, coal train tracks were blocked, cutting the coal supply of Neurath.

Here are some of these actions. (full thread)

I contributed with some projections on the coal excavator, the largest machine on earth: it’s 200m long and 100m tall. For more projections against coal mining, check this blog post: Projections in Lützerath (2021-2022)

I also contributed to a few reports in French media: France Inter, Vakita, Backseat and Blast.

After days of protests, direct actions and civil disobedience, all activists were evicted and the village of Lützerath is now entirely destroyed. I still can’t quite articulate or express how it feels, but these images convey a lot of the emotions I’m struggling to express with words. The fight continues.

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