Culture

Hundreds riot in Berlin over eviction of anti-coal protest camp

Hundreds of people late Thursday rioted in Berlin’s city center, protesting against the forced eviction of an anti-coal protest camp in the western German village of Lutzerath, police said.

More than 200 masked protesters went on a rampage in Berlin’s upscale shopping district of Hackerscher Markt, smashing dozens of shop windows and setting fire to garbage cans.

The perpetrators, believed to be radical leftists, also daubed facades and windows with slogans related to Lutzerath.

A police station was also attacked with pyrotechnics during the night and two offices of the co-ruling Green party were smeared with slogans.

Police used a helicopter to track down the perpetrators, arresting at least two suspects and a woman.

A radical left-wing website had recently called for "the fight to defend Lutzerath to be propagated in the big city areas as well."

"We can also take our anger to the streets together here in Berlin," it added.

Police on Friday said the eviction of anti-coal protesters, who were trying to block the expansion of a coal mine in the western village of Lutzerath, was almost complete.

Earlier, numerous wooden huts and barricades belonging to the anti-coal activists were razed to the ground by excavators in Lutzerath.

Environmental groups had hoped that Luzerath would be spared from excavation after Chancellor Olaf Scholz's center-left coalition, among them the pro-environment Green party, took office in December 2021 pledging to phase out the use of coal.

Russia's war in Ukraine, however, triggered an energy crisis, forcing Berlin to restart mothballed coal plants to secure the country's power needs.

Source: Anadolu Agency