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Fighting the Power

Activists led by Greta Thunberg clash with police during protest of mine expansion in German village

Clashes with police continued on Tuesday as protesters descended on the abandoned German village of Luetzerath to try and stop the hamlet's destruction, which is slated to pave the way for the expansion of a nearby coal mine

Climate activist Greta Thunberg was among those physically carried away and detained by police, who have been continually clearing out protesters from the area in recent days.

Law enforcement told BBC News that, contrary to some media reports, Thunberg had not been arrested. Rather, she was taken into custody after protesters "rushed towards the ledge" of the mine, and would be released later in the day.

Police added that none of the detained protesters would be charged. 

The clearing of the village was part of an agreement between the German government and energy conglomerate RWE. According to Reutersthe deal will allow RWE to destroy Luetzerath in exchange for the company's quicker shift away from fossil fuels.

Despite the insistence of the German government, the protesters decried the move, and many have been seen fighting with protesters despite the continuing work to raze the village.

Some of the protesters had already been camping out at Luetzerath for days prior to this week's events, clashing with police even as the bulldozing of the village was getting underway. 

"What everyone does matters," Thunberg told The Associated Press prior to her arrest. "If one of the largest polluters, like Germany, and one of the biggest historical emitters of CO2 is doing something like this, then, of course, it affects more or less everyone — especially those most bearing the brunt of the climate crisis."

Jan. 17, 2023: This article has been updated with additional information about Greta Thunberg.