PRESS ANNOUNCEMENT – 16.09.18

THOUSANDS MARCHING IN SOLIDARITY, HUNDREDS TAKE OVER THE FOREST

On the fourth day of the eviction of the Hambach Forest occupation, activists and supporters from all over made it clear to energy-giant RWE and the government of NRW, that the squatters inside the forest are not alone in their struggle!

Already from early in the morning, it was clear that the weekly “forest walk” was going to be something special.
Despite the fact, that police beforehand had made it official that the “forest-walk”, led by Eva and Michael Zobel, would not be allowed to enter the forest, thousands of people, from all stages of life, went towards the nearby village of Buir, completely filling up several trains on the way there. After hours of continuous arrival of motivated “forest-walkers”, the march began moving in the direction of the forest, waving flags, yelling slogans, and showing their solidarity with the climate-justice activists inside the occupation, and protesting for the preservation of the 12,000 year old forest, and against the extraction of lignite-coal by energy-giant RWE.

When arriving at the protest vigil, many hundred people chose to break off from the march, and while yelling “we want a forest walk!” managed to break through police lines, entering the forest.
Here people spread out, surrounded the occupations that were being evicted, in order to support the activists, and some places even managed to force the police to leave the premises. At one point a few hundred activists managed to completely surround an eviction tank near the Cozy-town occupation! Others went through the forest, erecting barricades, and playing cat-and-mouse games with the officers still present.
Although police violently arrested several activists, these moments gave people the strong experience of how active self-empowerment and solidarity is the strongest weapon against repression, making it clear that if we are determined enough, we can overcome any obstacles.
They may have the money, but we have the masses!

While some people were taking back the forest, attempting to halt the destruction of the unique ecosystems of the Hambach Forest, the action group “AufBäumen Gegen Kohle” had planned a “tree-planting action”, where a large group, equipped with shovels, watering cans and seedlings, attempted to plant new trees at the edge of the forest, bringing new life, to make up for the mass-murder committed by RWE.
Their peaceful protest however was met with very aggressive behaviour from the police, pushing and punching activists to keep them from getting to their goal.

At the end of the day, despite the presence of large amounts of activists and supporters, police forces managed to evict the rest of the treehouses in Oaktown, including Mousehouse, Floki and Nest. One activist in Oaktown, however, impressively managed to stay up in a tree throughout the day, where they still remain to this moment.
The police also began the eviction in the so-called “WWestside”, which includes the treehouse-villages Beech-town and Cozy-town. From here two people were evicted and transported away to the pre-charge detention centre.

Throughout the day, the police kept press-workers at a distance, making it hard (almost impossible) for journalists to properly show the brutal reality of the police’s destruction of the climate-justice occupation in national and international media. It seems clear, that for interior-minister of NRW Herbert Reul (CDU) and the government of NRW, the protection of the interests of energy-giant RWE and the coal-lobby, has higher priority than the protection of the “freedom of the press”.

The support and solidarity in the last days has been truly empowering, giving us the energy to keep going. Although tomorrow Monday brings with it for many people the beginning of another working week, we are hoping to see all of you here, to help keep the resistance alive!
Hambacher Forst stays, to infinity and beyond!

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