Vegan climate activist Greta Thunberg was briefly detained by German police on Tuesday (January 17) after participating in a protest against a proposed new coal mine expansion.
One of around 6,000 demonstrators, Thunberg was filmed being carried away by police after failing to move away from the edge of a mine owned by energy giant RWE, close to the abandoned village of Luetzerath. She was then held by her arm while her identity was confirmed and then released in the evening.
“Greta Thunberg was part of a group of activists who rushed towards the ledge. However, she was then stopped and carried by us with this group out of the immediate danger area to establish their identity,” an Aachen police spokesperson told Reuters.
Authorities have confirmed that Thunberg, who turned 20 earlier this month, was at no point under arrest during the protest.
Protestors assembled to decry the decision to demolish the village to make way for a mine expansion project, despite calls for Germany to move towards renewable energy sources.
Activists have been vocal about their desire to see the country stop its coal and lignite mining operations in favor of greener alternatives.
Thunberg rallying at the coal mine protest
Calling the mine expansion a “betrayal of present and future generations,” Thunberg addressed her fellow demonstrators. She went on to call Germany out as one of the world’s largest polluters, and said that it should face accountability for its climate impact.
Over the course of an almost week-long protest at the mine site, Thunberg has appeared multiple times.
She was reportedly the main voice at a rally on Saturday, before returning the next day, when she was apparently detained by police for the first time.
Thunberg then returned on Tuesday to participate in a sit-down protest, which ultimately resulted in her second altercation with the police.
Writing on Twitter about the matter, Thunberg explained: “Yesterday I was part of a group that peacefully protested the expansion of a coal mine in Germany. We were kettled by police and then detained but were let go later that evening.
“Climate protection is not a crime.”