Press Release, September 28, 2018
Eviction of Hambach Forest occupation coming to an end + Activists call out for mass actions of civil disobedience in October 6 + 25-29, 2018
Kerpen-Buir, September 28, 2018.
After a two week long massive police operation, the eviction of the Hambach Forest occupation is coming to an end. About 100-200 people had been living in the forest up to 6 years to protest against the proposed clearcut. The last reminders of the highly biodiverse old-growth forest are supposed to give way for the open-cast coal mine Hambach from which the utility RWE is set to exploit lignite until 2045. The eviction sparked nation-wide criticism of German climate policy. Activists announce that protests will continue.
The climate action coalition „Ende Gelände“ is calling for mass actions of civil disobedience against coal infrastructure, on October 6 and on October 25-29, 2018. Thousands of activists are expected to block the mining operations of RWE on these days. There will be a dedicated train bringing ca 900 activists from Prague via Berlin to the Rhineland. The train-ride will be open for interested journalists.
“In Hambach Forest, we see the true face of the German climate policy“, says Kathrin Henneberger from Ende Gelände. „While the climate crisis is already hitting us, our politicians are still clinging to RWE and an obsolete fossil technology. But this forceful eviction is only the last throes of a dying dinosaur. Civil society must be strong now. We invite everybody to our protests this autumn. Let’s make coal power history – together..“
If you have further questions, don’t hesitate to get in touch.
Contact: Karolina Drzewo, Kathrin Henneberger
Phone: 0049 152 04560800 or 0049 0157 50861453
You are welcome to report from our actions:
6. October 2018 +++ 25.-29. October 2018
You are invited to join the TRAIN that brings activists from Prague to the Rhineland.
It will be also possible to accompany activists and report directly from the site of action. If you are interested, please get in touch.
Since September 13, 3000-4000 of police forces worked day and night to remove kitchen facilities, barricades, tree houses and a tunnel, where two people had withdrawn. Activists repeatedly managed to get into the forest and to protect tree houses with sit-ins and lock-ons. Now. nearly all of the 60 tree houses have been destroyed. About 100 trees have already been felled to make way for heavy machines, although the cutting season has not started yet. Last week, the eviction came to a temporary halt after the death of 27-year-old journalist who fell off a walk-way. However, police activities in the forest never completely stopped so that there was hardly any space to grieve for the deceased..
In the last two weeks, more than 10,000 people took part in repeated spontanous demonstrations for a rapid coal-phase-out, close to the forest as well as in a countless German and a number of Europeans cities. Activists are determined to re-occupy the forest as soon as possible
By many, the beginning clearcut of the Hambach forest is seen as a provocation. Environmentalists demanded a moratorium for cutting operations until the coal commission has produced a result. The „Commission for growth, structural change and employment“ has been convening since June to discuss until the end of the year how a coal-phase out can be put into practice considering employment and energy security. Environmentalist criticize that RWE creates irretrievable facts if they cut down the forest during the negotiations. While RWE claims that they need to cut the forest to continue burning coal in the near future, other experts say that RWE can do without the lignite under the forest for three more years1.
The German government has increasingly come under pressure because it will fail to reach their 2020 climate targets. Polls show that 73% percent of German population are in favour of a rapid coal-phase out and the protection of the forest. A devastating drought and wildfires this summer has made climate change top news in the media, and created more awareness for its threatening impacts.
„RWE cannot stop us“, says Kathrin Henneberger from Ende Gelände. „They destroyed the tree houses but they cannot stop our protests. We will fight tooth and nails to protect the forest and our climate, knowing we have to rely on ourselves because the government does not act up to the urgency of the climate crisis.“