Europe

Climate protesters storm Garzweiler coalmine in Germany

Activists walking through the Garzweiler mine Image copyright AFP
Image caption Hundreds of protesters joined forces to break into the mine and march through it

Police in western Germany are removing climate change protesters from an open-cast coalmine after hundreds of them stormed the site.

Activists broke through a police cordon on Saturday to get into the Garzweiler mine, in a campaign against fossil fuel use.

Many protesters are resisting attempts by police to clear the huge site.

Police have warned that the mine is not safe, and said some officers were hurt as they tried to hold back protesters.

Germany has vowed to go carbon neutral by 2050 but activists say this is not soon enough.

Recent surveys have shown that climate change tops a list of concerns in Germany, with the Green party polling alongside the governing Christian Democrats.

Police attempting to stop the activists from entering the mine Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Police tried to hold back protesters from entering the mine, which they said was dangerous

Police used pepper spray to try to stop activists from reaching the site. Each side accused the other of using unnecessary force.

Earlier, protesters temporarily blocked a railway line used to transport coal.

Some of the activists were among between 20,000 and 40,000 protesters who joined a demonstration on Friday in the city of Aachen in support of the school strike movement launched by Swedish teenager Greta Thunberg.

Activists run into the grounds of the mine Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Dressed in white protective clothing, protesters ran over the sides of the mine to enter the premises
Activists shielding themselves from the sun using a foil blanket Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption After storming the mine, activists used foil blankets to shield themselves from the sun
Climate activists blocked the rail tracks leading to the Hambach surface mine Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Climate activists blocked the rail tracks leading to the Hambach surface mine
Police on horses guard the grounds of the coal mine Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Police on horseback were on duty at the coal mine

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