Did the police use disproportionate force when clearing Lützerath and the demo on Saturday – or did they become targets themselves?
According to NRW Interior Minister Herbert Reul (CDU), almost 500 criminal offenses were committed in connection with the evacuation of Lützerath.
In the run-up to the eviction, 30 criminal offenses were registered, during the eviction almost 400 and during the large anti-coal demonstration on Saturday again more than 50 criminal offenses were registered, Reul reported to the state parliament’s interior committee. It will also be determined in five cases against police officers.
14 transports to hospitals
Greta Thunberg, Luisa Neubauer and other climate activists had accused the police of using excessive force. Reul rejected this again in the committee. The most serious injury at the demo was a concussion. There were 14 transports to hospitals – five of them would have affected police officers, the rest were demonstrators. It was mainly foot, leg, arm and hand injuries as well as lacerations.
Activists reported over the weekend that life-threatening injuries had occurred during the demo. The police disagreed. The NRW head of the Office for the Protection of the Constitution, Jürgen Kayser, also said in the committee meeting: “The narrative of excessive police violence has just not been confirmed.”
Reul, on the other hand, emphasized that some of the activists apparently planned violence from the start. There had already been corresponding requests in advance: “Kill cops” or “A cobblestone still fits between the cop helmet and the bridge of the nose” were slogans and graffiti.
At the edge of the open-cast mine, a police horse was deliberately made shy with blankets during the demo until it bolted with the rider and galloped towards the edge of the open-cast mine. The officer was just able to jump off under the hooting of the demonstrators and then stopped the horse.
It was also reported that disrupters had deliberately grabbed the firearms of the police officers. “Some of the fuses on the holster have already been released,” said Reul. “I don’t want to rule out and imagine what could have happened there.”
Lützerath, which belongs to Erkelenz west of Cologne, was evacuated in a day-long large-scale police operation against the resistance of hundreds of climate activists. The energy company RWE wants to mine lignite there.
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