Hundreds of activists broke into several coal mines in eastern Germany on Saturday to call for an immediate end to coal use, according to organizers and the energy firm Leag.
Protesters ran into the Jaenschwalde and Welzow-Sued open-cast mining
sites in the eastern state of Brandenburg, as well as the United
Schleenhain lignite mining area in the neighbouring state of Saxony.
The Ende Gelaende group organized the action to protest the
government's climate policies. The German government aims to phase
out the use of coal by 2038, which activists say is too long.
Scuffles broke out at the sites between police and activists.
Jaenschwalde, three officers were slightly injured, according to a
police spokesman. At the mine in Saxony, protesters violently broke
through a police barricade with blows and kicks, despite statements
by Ende Gelaende that there would be no violence against people.
The protest group estimated that 2,000 people in total had broken
into the three sites, while police spoke of several hundred.
Coal supporters held a morning vigil in Jaenschwalde to call for the
preservation of the mines.
It was unclear whether protesters would be forced off the sites.
Police were being instructed to not put themselves in danger, which
is why they did not chase the activists after they stormed the mines.
Climate activists hold placards during a demonstration in front of the Jaenschwalde power plant in eastern Germany