LUETZERATH, Germany, Jan 17 (Reuters) – Climate activist Greta Thunberg was arrested alongside other activists on Tuesday during protests against the demolition of the coal-mining village of Luetzerath, but the entire group will be released later in the day, according to the police.
“There is no reason to hold them for days. It may take hours or they will leave immediately,” said a spokesman for the Aachen regional police, speaking of the whole group of protesters.
Thunberg was detained while protesting at the Garzweiler 2 strip coal mine, about 9 km (5.6 miles) from Luetzerath, where she sat with a group of protesters near the edge of the mine.
The village cleanup in the western state of North Rhine-Westphalia was agreed between RWE and the government as part of a deal that saw the energy giant demolish Lutzerath in return for a quicker exit coal and save five villages originally slated for destruction.
Campaigners said Germany should no longer mine lignite and should instead focus on expanding renewable energy.
Riot police backed by bulldozers cleared the activists from village buildings with only a few in trees and an underground tunnel last weekend, but protesters including Thunberg remained at the site to stage a sit-ins on Tuesday.
Thunberg, was seen sitting alone in a large police bus after being arrested, a Reuters witness said.
“We are going to use force to get you through the ID check, so please cooperate,” a police officer told the group, according to Reuters footage.
“Greta Thunberg was part of a group of activists who rushed to the ledge. However, she was later arrested and transported by us with this group out of the immediate danger zone to establish their identity,” she told Reuters a spokesman for the Aachen police, adding an activist had jumped into the mine.
Thunberg was carried away by three police officers and held by one arm to a location farther from the edge of the mine where she had previously sat with the group.
She was then escorted to police vans.
The Swedish climate activist addressed the roughly 6,000 protesters who marched towards Lutzerath on Saturday, calling the mine expansion a “betrayal of present and future generations”.
“Germany is one of the biggest polluters in the world and must be held responsible,” she said.
Reporting by Wolfgang Rattay and Riham Alkousaa, writing by Victoria Waldersee; Editing by Maria Sheahan, William Maclean
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