LUTZERTH, Germany — About 70 police officers were injured during environmental protests in a German town over the demolition of a vast coal mine, police said Sunday.
Hundreds of police officers are evacuating workers from the devastated west German town of Leutzerth in an operation that began on Wednesday.
The site, which has become a symbol of opposition to fossil fuels, attracted thousands of protesters on Saturday, including Swedish environmental activist Greta Thunberg.
Some peoples are protesters who clashed with the police. Organizers reported dozens of injuries.
A spokesman said on Sunday that the number of police casualties had fallen since Wednesday due to difficult conditions at the scene and clashes on Saturday.
Criminal proceedings have been initiated in about 150 cases, including resisting police officers, damage to property and disorderly conduct, police said.
On Saturday, activists accused the police of using ” water cannons, huge batons, pepper spray, dogs and horses.”
At least 20 workers were taken to hospital for treatment, said Berte Schramm, the group’s doctor. He said, some of them were beaten by the police on the head and stomach.
Organizers said 35,000 protesters gathered on Saturday. Police estimate that number at 15,000.
The situation at the site was “very calm” on Sunday, a police spokesman said. World news
According to police, about a dozen workers are still hiding in tree houses and at least two in an underground tunnel.
Long abandoned by its former residents, Lützerath is being demolished to make way for the expansion of an adjacent opencast coal mine.
The mine, which is the largest in Europe, is operated by the energy company RWE.
The expansion continues despite plans to phase out coal by 2030, which the government blames on the energy crisis caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.