Climate change activist Greta Thunberg let German police carry her away on Sunday after refusing to voluntarily leave a mass-climate change demonstration at an opencast mine in Lützerath, where she and thousands of others have been protesting all weekend.
The protests began following the announcement of the expansion of the Garzweiler coal mine, which will result in the demolition of the abandoned village of Luetzerath, German new outlet BILD reports. Protesters have been occupying the ghost town for almost a week, building treehouses and digging tunnels in order to evade capture.
Thunberg spent most of Sunday sitting on a mound of earth next to the site, according to BILD. She repeatedly refused to comply with police requests to vacate the site, giving the officers no choice but to forcibly remove her, which she allowed without protest.
The police operation to remove climate activists, which began on Wednesday, has been criticized for the "unbelievable level of police violence," according to a spokeswoman for the activist group Lützerath Leben.
"It's a miracle there haven't been any deaths here," she added.
More than 70 police officers have been injured on Saturday alone, leading the Police to defend their action as necessary given the violent nature of the protests.
"These were ugly pictures, we would have wished for something else," a police spokesperson told BILD. "Anyone who deliberately and intentionally - after breaking through the first police line - does not stop and continues to run towards the police forces must be assumed to have sought a confrontation."
"This is not a blanket justification for each individual situation. But at least a clear distancing from the accusation of exaggerated and unnecessary police violence," the spokesperson added.
The German government has argued that the coal mine expansion is necessary in order to ensure the country's energy security and its energy independence from the Kremlin following the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
According to police, all occupied buildings, huts and tree houses have been cleared, and the last remaining holdouts are allegedly in a tunnel beneath the site.
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