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  • In Rhineland, climate activists unrolled their sleeping bags for a night under the stars in Garzweiler’s open-pit coal mine.

    In Rhineland, climate activists unrolled their sleeping bags for a night under the stars in Garzweiler’s open-pit coal mine. | Photo: Reuters

Published 22 June 2019

Over 8,000 protesters demanded the closure of the coal mine and large scale changes to both society and the economy.

Germany’s largest lignite coal mine was overrun by an army of climate change protesters Saturday, as demonstrators lodged a sit-in to “increase pressure on the government” to address their concerns.

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Just two days after the European Union failed to enact a plan to neutralize the bloc’s carbon footprint by 2050, thousands of protesters filled the streets and towns of Germany, erecting barricades, and breaking police lines to enter coal mines owned by RWE.

In Rhineland, environmentalists from the climate activist group, “Ende Gelände” (“Here and No Further”), unrolled their sleeping bags for a night under the stars in Garzweiler’s open-pit coal mine. The mine is one of many electricity and natural gas suppliers heavily involved in the production of lignite.

According to organizers, over 8,000 protesters from across Europe participated in the event, demanding the coal mine's closure and large systematic changes to both society and the economy.

Protester and Scottish native, Seimi Rowin, said, “You’re building a movement, that’s beautiful. But we need to get to the next step ... otherwise, future generations will pay for it.”

Another demonstrator, Selma Schubert said, "It's important to increase the pressure on the government. The government doesn't do enough against climate change.”

RWE has been the focal point of numerous climate change demonstrations due to the environmental threats of the company like deforestation, its large contribution to the world’s CO2 emissions, and a recent agreement with the German government to continue mining coal until 2038.

Another protester who wished to remain anonymous told DW, “We really need to actively do something because the climate damage that is happening now will be irreversible in 15 years. You have to run riot for some causes."

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