Climate activists occupied a giant excavator in a German coal mine

BERLIN (AP) — Climate activists have occupied a giant excavator at a coal mine in western Germany to protest the destruction of a nearby village to expand a separate mine.

Energy company RWE told the German news agency dpa that four people climbed onto an excavator early Monday and that work at the Hambach lignite mine was suspended. The police have been informed about the incident, the company said.

The anti-coal group Ende Gelaende wrote on Mastodon that a second group of activists climbed the bridge to block access to the village of Lucerat, which was the focus of last week’s protests.

Thousands of people demonstrated on Saturday against RWE’s destruction of a village to expand its Hartzweiler coal mine, which is about 20 kilometers (12 miles) north of Hambach.

Police and RWE began evicting activists from Lucerne on Wednesday, removing roadblocks, cutting down tree houses and bulldozing buildings. On Sunday, they said the operation was almost over.

The government and RWE say that the coal under Lucerne is needed to provide Germany with energy in the coming years. Environmentalists and scientists dispute this and warn that burning tens of millions of tons of coal would undermine Germany’s climate goals.

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