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Threatened villages in #Rhineland: Sit-in blockade at opencast mine #Garzweiler announced

German territory: RWE disregards coal exit with start of construction of new mine side road. Activists announced blockade on May 26 and May 27.

Originally published by Kohle Ersetzen. Translated by Enough 14.

The action group “Kohle erSetzen!”(replace coal) and the alliance “Alle Dörfer bleiben” (all villages stay) call for a sit-in blockade against the construction of the L354n road between Wanlo and Kuckum, which began yesterday. The road will only be needed if more villages are destroyed for the brown coal underneath. Under the motto “Not a single meter for coal”, residents and activists of the climate justice movement want to block construction work on Monday 27 May.

“With this road construction, RWE is revealing its ignorance of the forthcoming coal withdrawal,” says Mira Jäger, press spokeswoman for Kohle erSetzen! “It is clear that all villages will remain. Even with the completely inadequate result of the coal commission, the opencast mines can hardly be continued. Thus both the dredging of the villages and the new road construction are absolutely unnecessary.” Nevertheless, a piece of forest has already been cleared for the construction work and several hectares of fertile arable land are to be sacrificed.

“In order to create more facts and to put people in the villages under pressure, RWE is building a new ‘mine edge road’ far behind the villages. This is a mockery for all those who are determined to stay in their villages,” says David Dresen from the threatened village Kuckum. If open-cast mining continues as RWE intended, the new roadside mine road will not be needed until 2027, when Kuckum will be destroyed. RWE has already had approval for the new construction for four years. According to RWE’s current plans, it would be sufficient if road construction were not to begin until 2025. The local residents therefore assume that RWE is already building to put them under pressure and deprive them of the quality of life in their villages. “At RWE, there is a system in place to make life hell for the people here. The construction of the road raises the provocations to a new level,” says David Dresen. “In order to give weight to our demand for an immediate halt to all preparatory mining measures, we are therefore forced to go one step further and call for the construction work to be blocked.”

RWE is currently digging a path through fields and forest across the full width of the future road. Once this work has been completed, the aisle will be examined for possible old explosive devices and archaeological finds, after which road construction will begin immediately.

In the last 100 years almost 300 settlements for lignite mining have been destroyed in Germany alone. In the meantime, however, broad support has emerged for a quick exit from coal, as is demanded by tens of thousands of people every week during the “Fridays for Future” climate strike. Nevertheless, RWE is pushing ahead with the resettlement of around 1,500 people in the Rhineland region. Six villages and additional farms are still under threat from the Garzweiler II open-cast mine. On 22 June, Alle Dörfer bleiben therefore invites you to a major day of action in the Rheine region (Rheinisches Revier), together with Fridays for Future, BUND, Greenpeace, Campact and nature lovers. On this day, activists from Ende Gelände will also disobey the coal mining industry elsewhere (but near… Enough 14).

RWE’s business not only destroys village communities in Germany. As corporation with the highest carbon dioxide emissions in Europe, it poses a particular threat to the existence of people worldwide who are losing their basic livelihoods as a result of the climate crisis. These people are already suffering from increasingly severe droughts and extreme weather events, even though they have contributed very little to the climate crisis.

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