POST TIME: 22 June, 2019 00:00 00 AM
Climate activists rally, seek to occupy coal mine
AFP, Viersen

Climate activists rally, seek to occupy coal mine

Young climate activists take part in the "Fridays for Future" demonstration in Aachen, western Germany yesterday. AFP photo

Tens of thousands of climate activists noisily rallied in Germany yesterday to demand action against global warming, now one of the hottest issues on the European political agenda.

While several thousand anti-coal activists tried to reach and occupy a massive open-cast lignite mine, elsewhere the “Fridays for Future” student movement staged their biggest international rally so far.

Up to 20,000 young activists from 17 countries flocked to Aachen near the Dutch and Belgian borders for a huge show of force of the school-strike movement launched by Swedish teenage activist Greta Thunberg.

“Climate justice without borders,” read one banner at the head of the colourful and festive “F4F” rally. Another demanded: “Raise your voice, not the sea level.”

Many of the young “Fridays” activists planned to later join the “Ende Gelaende” (EG) anti-coal protest whose members were playing a cat-and-mouse game with police as they tried to reach the Garzweiler mine. The German phrase “Ende Gelaende” means that something is irrevocably finished—similar to “end of story”—which is how the protesters feel about the fossil fuel age.

“We are unstoppable, another world is possible,” the EG protesters chanted as they walked toward the 48 square kilometre (19 square mile) mine where building-sized excavators churn through what resembles a moonscape.

However, many EG protesters were temporarily stuck when police shuttered the train station at Viersen near their tent city protest camp to stop them from reaching the mine some 20 kilometres (12 miles) away. The protesters were undeterred and vowed they would seek to evade police to enter the mining operation of energy giant RWE. “Today we set out with thousands of people towards a future without fossil fuels, without exploitation and without this destructive quest for infinite economic growth,” said EG spokeswoman Sina Reisch.