During the last two forest walks (Nov. 10 in Keyenberg, Nov. 11 in Hambi) last weekend, the text below was read out. It was written by a group of people from the forest and does not necessarily represent the opinion of the entire occupation.
The open pit Hambach progresses tirelessly and destroys habitat in favor of the production of electricity, which in large part in the industry in turn drives the destruction of habitat here and elsewhere. This destruction takes place both directly through the excavator buckets, which here and now take the habitat from humans and animals, and indirectly as the largest CO2 polluter in Europe and the resulting climate change.
The coal exit still remains manual work
The resistance around the lignite is growing. The small piece of forest left over from the former Bürgewald, rebaptised Hambach Forest by RWE, has become a symbol of resistance.
Our protest is a statement: We no longer allow the power elites in politics and business to impose on us an economic system that is destroying our planet!
In recent weeks, state power has shown how they deal with people who don’t ask anymore, but act. For weeks, the forest was besieged by police hundreds, elevators and the Special Units. For weeks, the state has worked hard to hammer the message into the heads of a few hundred anarchists that a resisting, wild and free life is not to be tolerated.
The fact that the court has decided at the beginning of October, after weeks of eviction and the felling of hundreds of trees, for a postponement of the deforestation, does not mean a victory to us.
Too deep are the memories of the eviction in us.
They cut safety ropes on which people were hanging. They did not allow paramedics and press to pass. They systematically prevented people from sleeping at night by noise and floodlight. At checks they threatened people with firearms. They broke arms and ribs and beat people unconscious. They did not give water to detainees and brought them to the judges without a lawyer. They put five people in custody for weeks.
They have been repeatedly warned that their reckless behavior endangers human lives. But they preferred to ignore all warnings. And that’s just a small list of the psycho terror of the last few months.
Even after the death of our friend Steffen there was no break. They pretended to have stopped the evacuation, but that same night floodlights and generators were running at the place of his death and on the next day barricades were cleared in other barrios. Police and politicians spread misinformation about what is going on in a way that is hard to beat for audacity.
One activist wrote about it: “The misinformation that Reul and the police have spread is not excusable. (…) Even though everyone may have been very stressed already before Steffen’s death, afterwards the eviction was just over the top. Just a disaster. Just horror. Unbearable.” (letter of Sept. 27th, not yet translated)
A comprehensive, medial and concrete theming of the behavior on the part of the police has been lacking until now. It is incomprehensible to us how the reporting focuses on throwing feces at the officials while they at the same time are putting the lives of activists at risk. Protesters and activists are expected to keep their protest within the limits of legality, while the police acts systematically and disproportionately and deny people’s rights. These are not individual cases of miscarriage, but a structural problem of the police as executive, which is brutal everyday life, especially for non-white people, refugees, homeless, activists and other groups. Legal action against police officers are rarely successful and often lead to being charged oneself.
And it’s far from being over yet. Our friend Eule has been in custody for five weeks. In the next few weeks, some processes of resistant people, e.g. on 13 and 20 November (see 4 Acquittals in the Hambi9 Trial), nine activists are in court, who were detained in January for barricading. Our solidarity against their repression. Show yourselves in solidarity, visit the trials and write letters to Eule and the other prisoners! Here you can find more information: ABC-Rhineland.
This week the state showed again how it deals with resistant people who do not just faintly observe, but go on to fight for life and freedom. Last Tuesday, the occupation in Trebur forest near Frankfurt was cleared, where people resist against expansion of Frankfurt Airport. Just like the Hambach Forest, this forest is to be felled for the interests of a large corporation.
Last Thursday, an occupied house was evicted in Manheim, a largely vacant village, as it has to give way to the open pit Hambach in the next few years.
We send solidary greetings to the people of the occupations. Our struggles are inseparable.
In the same way, we are in solidarity with the inhabitants of the threatened villages of Keyenberg, Kuckum, Berverath, Unterwestrich and Oberwestrich, Morschenich and Manheim, Pödelwitz, as well as the people in the global south, who is much more affected by climate change and whose homes and land have to yield to the profits of others.
Along with the repression also resistance is increasing. This fight has achieved an attention that we would not have thought possible a few years ago. People all over the world are solidarising and seeing that the German state does not do as much for environmental protection as it likes to tell. The everyday brutality of the police has become much more visible and many are losing confidence in the state, which is so stubbornly clinging to its course into the abyss.
People see that there are other ways to live together, that it will be necessary in the future that more people throw a spanner in the works of this system, continue to disturb and annoy, continue to occupy and block.
This text is partly based on a speech at an earlier walk in the forest.
See also Review of repression in and around the Hambach Forest – end of August to end of September 2018 by the Legal Team (Ermittlungsausschuss) in Hambach Forest