1. Skip to content
  2. Skip to main menu
  3. Skip to more DW sites

Germany: RWE to seek compensation from anti-coal protesters

January 21, 2023

The energy company said protesters caused considerable damage to property in Lützerath. Activists had been demonstrating against the expansion of a coal mine in the village.

Two police escort climate activist away from site in Lützerath village
Two police escort climate activist away from site in Lützerath villageImage: Federico Gambarini/dpa/picture alliance

German energy firm RWE plans to seek compensation from protesters that demonstrated at the village of Lützerath over the planned expansion of a coal mine, a spokesman said in remarks published Saturday.

"Of course, all disruptors must expect a claim for damages," RWE spokesman Guido Steffen told the Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung.

Steffen said that he could not state a sum as the extent of damage caused was not yet clear.

RWE said the protests caused considerable damage to property, including vehicles and equipment belonging to the company. It said that several wells and switching stations had also been destroyed.

According to media reports, nearly 500 criminal offenses have been recorded in connection with the clearing of Lützerath.

Why were activists protesting in Lützerath?

Hundreds of Lützerath inhabitants were all resettled as the village was scheduled for demolition in order to make way for the RWE's planned expansion of the Garzweiler open-cast lignite mine.

Climate activists have opposed the mine's expansion and Germany's use of coal. Police said some 15,000 people demonstrated at the village a week ago, with some activists occupying the site to block the demolition.

In response to the demonstrations, law enforcement mounted a clearing operation on the site lasting several days. Police said on Monday that they had succeeded in removing demonstrators from a protest camp.

Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg joined the protests and was carried out by police on Tuesday. She and a group of protesters had begun heading for the face of the Garzweiler mine before she and other activists were detained.

Germany has turned to coal for electricity, largely due to restrictions on imports of oil and gas from Russia following its invasion of Ukraine. Also affecting the use of coal is Berlin's phase-out of nuclear power.

sdi/fb (dpa, AFP)