A few weeks before a possible clearing in the hambach forest, the energy company RWE – supported by a large police contingent – cleared barricades in the forest. "The work proceeded largely without violent disruptions," it said in a statement from RWE this evening.
RWE wants to clear more than 100 of the remaining 200 hectares of forest for lignite mining, but will not be allowed to do so until the start of the clearing season on 1 january at the earliest. October start.
For a long time now, there have been fierce protests by local occupiers against the felling of the trees under the slogan "hambi bleibt" ("hambi remains"), which are also directed against lignite as a whole. According to the bund fur umwelt und naturschutz (BUND), the forest west of koln has a 12.000 years of history, there are occurrences of strictly protected species there.
The police reported in the evening on their operation on wednesday of a total of five detentions for danger prevention: with two women were found parts for the construction of twists and gun material. In addition, three persons who had put up considerable resistance during the loosening of obstacles had been arrested beforehand. Two of them had held on to wooden structures. A man had been fastened in a hole. During this loosening of persons two officials had been slightly injured. One person was injured during his resistance and was taken to a hospital.
Six police vehicles were damaged by metal cramps and so-called krahenfube hidden in the ground, according to the mission report. During the operation, the police, according to their own statements, also stumbled upon several objects that resembled explosives. However, all of them had turned out to be dummies during the investigation. Furthermore, a world war II grenade had been found on the forest floor, which an expert had classified as no longer dangerous and which had been disposed of.
Opponents of the clearing, some of whom had been camping in tree huts in the forest for a long time, used megaphones to demand the withdrawal of the police. At the beginning of the operation, pyrotechnics were thrown, officials reported. Police officers were also sprayed with urine and pelted with objects. Police estimated the number of opponents to the clearing in the forest at 60 to 100.
Environmentalists demand a quick exit from harmful lignite and at least a moratorium on clearing while the federal coal commission is in session. They condemned wednesday’s action. "There must not be any clearing, and therefore there must not be this clearing," said jan putz from "action underwood". According to the organizers, around 700 people took part in a demonstration under the slogan "defend basic rights – preserve the hambach forest", which went from buir train station to the hambach forest on wednesday evening. Police reported that the demonstration was peaceful.
RWE considers clearing unavoidable to secure electricity production in lignite-fired power plants. About 10 of them were hanging.000 sites and the security of energy supply in north rhine-westphalia from. An RWE spokesman said wednesday’s action was not a clearing, but a cleaning of the forest. As a forest owner, RWE is obliged to keep rescue routes clear, for example.
Barricades, pieces of furniture, a hat, dozens of euro pallets, scrap metal and even a surfboard had been found and taken away. Among them, however, were also dangerous objects such as a tire spiked with nails, RWE announced in an initial assessment in the evening. In total, about 370 cubic meters of mull had been removed from the forest. Surprisingly for the company was the ausmab of the "vermullung of the forest area" was.
About 200 RWE employees used heavy equipment to remove tree trunks and aste from the trails. Some of the astes were cut up on the ground to make them easier to remove, a reporter told the german press agency. Some of the ditches and holes were filled in and mull was removed from the forest, an RWE spokesman said. "Individual trees can be felled if the excavator can’t get through otherwise," said police spokesman paul kemen. But this is not a riot, something like this is allowed at any time.
The federal government’s so-called coal commission is to work out a phase-out of coal-fired power generation by the end of the year and submit proposals for financing and designing structural change in opencast mining regions such as the rhineland area.
Oliver krischer, vice chairman of the green party in the bundestag, criticized the police action against this background: "while the coal commission is working on a solution in berlin, the NRW state government is deploying a large contingent of police so that RWE can create facts."The action was a provocation for all those who were committed to a political solution of the conflict.
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