Activists storm Europe's largest coal mine

Activists storm Europe's largest coal mine

Exit coal - now!

One day before COP23, thousands of anti-coal mining activists gathered to urge a complete phase out of coal for use in power stations. The protesters, dressed with in protective white suits, walked for about 10 kilometers — from a nearby village to the Hambach coal mine.

Activists storm Europe's largest coal mine

Block the destruction

Hambach is the largest CO2 emitter in Europe. Its expansion has already partially cleared out a 1,000-year-old forest and left several ghost villages behind — with more to come. Activists believe the climate talks going on in Bonn, only 50 kilometers away, are a complete nonsense while the mine keeps running.

Activists storm Europe's largest coal mine

Fighting in peace

Despite a heavy police presence, the mood for Sunday's protest was very peaceful. The protagonists waved colourful banners and wore painted faces. Some brought guitars and played music - at least during the first part of the day.

Activists storm Europe's largest coal mine

Attention: danger to life

As protesters approached the mine, police officers moved in and began blocking the march. With loud speakers, they warned the demostrators that they were trepassing on private property and they posed a risk to security.

Activists storm Europe's largest coal mine

Run, run, run

As the drew closer to the mine, the long line of demonstrators suddenly burst into life, with many people running and shouting, forgetting the many kilometers they had already walked.

Activists storm Europe's largest coal mine

A one-day success

Activists said that blocking this type of coal infrastructure was the best way to make their voices heard for an immediate transition away from coal. And yes, at least for a while, the giant digger stopped operating. The hundreds of activists who made it to the coal mine hailed the stoppage as a great success.

Activists storm Europe's largest coal mine

No more coal for climate

Anti-coal activists say no other place in Europe represents the dependence on coal for electricity as well as the Hambach mine. Among the many signs carried by protesters, one of the often repeated ones was: Exit coal, protect the climate.

Activists storm Europe's largest coal mine

Far from an end

Towards the end of Sunday's march, two more groups who had gotten separated from the main demonstration, joined up with their comrades. Here you can see the police have lined up to prevent their advance.

Activists storm Europe's largest coal mine

Time for action

The activists were successful in shutting down parts of the Hambach mine for just a day. But whether politicians will take any long-term measures regarding coal mining during the COP23 climate conference remains to be seen.

Ahead of COP23, hundreds of anti-coal activists have defied police barriers at the Hambach coal mine in Germany — Europe's largest CO2 emitter. Protesters say climate change cannot be minimized without a coal phaseout.