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Police surrounding Greta Thunberg and other activists AP/PA Images
Fossil Fuels

Eamon Ryan 'absolutely supports' Greta Thunberg and protesters against German mine expansion

Greta Thunberg was briefly detained by German police in a protest against the destruction of a village and the mine’s expansion.

CLIMATE MINISTER EAMON Ryan has said he supports Greta Thunberg and the right to protest in the wake of police detentions at a demonstration in Germany against the expansion of a coal mine.

Greta Thunberg was briefly detained by German police this week at the site of an open coal pit mine, where activists have long been pushing back against plans that mean a village will be destroyed to allow more lignite to be extracted.

Years of opposition to the demolition of Luetzerath in western Germany came to a head this week as police forced occupying activists to leave the area and protests attracted thousands upon thousands of supporters.

Responding to a query from The Journal while speaking to reporters today, the minister suggested that Ireland is not in a position to cast judgement on the German government while coal continues to be burnt here.

“Be careful that those without sin cast don’t cast the first stone. We’re burning coal in Moneypoint as we speak,” Minister Ryan said.

“We’re still burning coal in Moneypoint. That has to stop,” he said.

“It would be hard for us to start pointing the finger at other countries when we’re still burning coal. We will stop that in the timeline set out in the Climate Action Plan.”

Thunberg, who was among the demonstrators, was temporarily detained on Tuesday during a protest march when a group of around 50 ran towards the edge of the Garzweiler mine.

Police, who said they acted on the basis that the protesters were dangerously close to the edge of the mine, forcibly carried around 50 people away from it, including Thunberg.

Thunberg addressed the incident on social media, saying the group were released later that evening.

“Climate protection is not a crime,” the activist wrote on Twitter.

Minister Ryan said today: “I absolutely understand and support what Greta Thurberg was doing there.”

“I [believe] absolutely [in] the right to protest and the importance of us keeping it in the ground, cutting off fossil fuels at source,” he said.

“That’s why we have made changes in terms of peat extraction in this country, that’s why we do not explore for oil and gas. That’s why we have to switch off from burning coal in Moneypoint.

“But we need to do that and focus on that. The German government and my Green colleagues, who I have a lot of time for, they’ll manage their system. I’m keen to manage ours.”

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