German police were seen removing protesters who had chained and tied themselves to stretchers as part of a mass protest this weekend. People rallied against one of the country’s most ancient forests being razed for coal mining.
Footage captured by Ruptly video agency shows police officers forcibly dragging activists away as they occupied train tracks as part of their ‘End the Site’ protest at Hambach Forest, near the western German city of Aachen.
Images show baton-cladded police officers descending on the protest camp and trying to disperse the crowd. Protesters chose to take over the tracks as they supply energy company RWE’s power plants with coal from the open-cast mine in Hambach.[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6yKDflUpjsg&w=900&h=506]
Officers had to team up in squads to be able to pick up and carry away activists who refused to barge. Some of the environmentalists went all the way by chaining themselves to the track.
Police tweeted that the occupation of the train track on Saturday meant a water cannon had to be used against protesters, German news outlet Deutsche Welle (DW) reports.
The environmentalists were protesting to save the remaining parts of the 12,000-year-old forest from being razed to the ground to allow for RWE to continue its mining operations.
People have occupied the area for the past six years, with some also building tree houses in the forest. In a recent operation, law enforcers cleared the area of 86 tree houses. They have, however, been banned from doing so again after a court order.
Some tree houses have been rebuilt since the ruling, which came about after BUND environmental group, the German branch of Friends of the Earth, launched legal action.
It argued the forest falls under the EU Habitats Directive because of its population of Bechstein’s bats, DW reports.
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