This Sunday Nov. over 4000 Ende Gelaende climate justice activists stormed and shut down the largest open-cast lignite (brown coal) mine in Western Europe. This action coincided with Conference of Polluters COP23 kicking off its carbon trading, false solutions and green capitalism business as usual responses to fossil fools industry making the Planet uninhabitable for countless species and communities. The Coal phase out in Germany is decades away while the ancient, millenarian Forest of Hambach, occupied for the last 5 years with currently over 20 treehouses, continues to be decimated every winter, while the mines of North Rhine Westphalia continue to push the Planet past the point of no return with the largest net CO2 emissions in Europe, and continue to poison Earth’s oceans with mercury.
For many Hambacher Forest Defenders resisting in the forest year round the thousands who came for the action were a welcomed force multiplier. As many from the forest joined in white hazmat suits and masks the cops tried to block the marches of several fingers under a railroad bridge taking straw sacks away and spilling their content on large piles, only to have vans throw additional bags into the march on the other side of the bridge, where the Red Finger split off and headed to the western part of the mine as Green, Gold and Orange walked en masse towards the coal ghost town of Manheim and to the eastern entrance to the mine. Once there, over 3000 activists scaled down a steep incline and, after playing cat and mouse with about 60 cops trying to cut them off, climbed under a conveyor belt into the mine, leaving cops on the other side. The thousands poured towards the closest giant digger, that was surrounded by a line of hundreds of cops and an additional line of pickup trucks with mine workers and behind cops on horses and dogs. With the massive funds involved in this repression action RWE, now engaged in a massive green f*ck campaign, could have bought several wind turbines, except it was of course the State doing its best to subsidize climate criminals and finance global disaster and climate chaos reality of collapse and militarized repression.
As the Gold and Green fingers stopped before this line enforced by temporary fencing an autonomous finger formed and went down deeper into the mine to occupy the lowest digger accessing the lignite layer. They were able to climb onto it before additional cops in heavy riot gear managed to catch up with them. Meanwhile, the large group above formed a huge circle around the line of cops so the second line of cops forming behind them could not easily crowd them in and had to spread their lines thin. After two hours of blocking the digger and singing, this group was attacked by cops on horses, after lines of cops pepper spraying as many people as possible, as a rainstorm hit the mine with winds picking up dust clouds. The action consensus of staying anonymous was maintained as cops penned people in and photographed faces, large percentage of which was covered with paint and patterns for that particular occasion. During that time, the Red finger also penetrated the mine and tied up more cops but due to difficult terrain exited the mine, squatted a farm field and set up a base camp with kitchen, fires and music.
Most people were processed on site, two comrades however were detained overnight but after a solidarity demo of over 40 in front of the court building they were released. Over the next couple days in Bonn, the Ende Gelände Day Camp on the Rhine concluded with reflection plenary and then with sung testimonies of comrades from the Standing Rock Resistance as workshops, presentations and plenaries continued through out the city as part of the People’s Climate Summit bringing indigenous and grass roots struggles from the global front lines of climate justice movement.