Police Trapped in Mud are Taunted by Costumed "Wizard" at Greta Thunberg's Protest
Thousands of activists clashed with police.
Police officers in Lützerath, Germany, were taunted by a "mud wizard" while trapped in sludge. The officers were battling climate activists (including Greta Thunberg), who were protesting a coal deal between energy company RWE and the Green party. The abandoned village would be razed to expand a coal pit, and thousands of protesters braved the deep mud to set up treehouses and barricades preventing the coal from being mined. Here's what the video footage shows.
Footage shows riot police up to their calves in deep mud, struggling to pull each other out. As they try to free themselves, a man dressed in a wizard's robe strolls around them, appearing to taunt the officers. At one point, he even touches one of the riot police on the shoulder and the leg.
The police eventually managed to disperse the protesters, and the mine expansion is underway. Organizers say close to 35,000 protesters were present at Lützerath, although police say it was closer to 15,000. 20 activists were treated for injuries inflicted during the clash with police.
The deal between the Green Party and RWE (Germany's largest coal company) is being touted as positive for the climate, but not everyone agrees. "It's a gut punch that Green ministers now try to sell this backroom coal deal as a success," Politico reported Olaf Bandt, the chair of the non-governmental German Federation for the Environment and Nature Conservation, said. "We won't accept that."
Germany's economy and climate minister Robert Habeck says the coal reboot is necessary as a result of Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Critics say Germany has more than enough coal reserves and mining more would undermine Germany's Paris Agreement CO2 budget pledge.
Climate activists are adamant there are no two sides to the argument. "Not all things around the climate crisis are black and white, but this is," says climate activist Luisa Neubauer. "If we want to see a world with less crisis, we need the fossil fuel destruction to be stopped. And we need governments to hold fossil fuel companies accountable, to put people over fossil fuel profits."