Tens of thousands of people gathered today in Hambach (western Germany) to celebrate the stoppage, by judicial decision, of logging in an adjacent millennial forest where the RWE electric company intends to expand an open pit coal mine.
"It is by far the largest demonstration the Rhenish mining account has seen," said Dirk Jansen, manager of the Environmental Protection and Environmental Protection League (BUND) in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia. forest.
The organizers spoke of some 50,000 protesters, while the police avoided giving an estimate of participation.
The rally – half a protest demonstration, half a festive act – proceeded in an absolutely peaceful manner between the last hour of the morning and the first of the afternoon.
Michael Müller, president of the NGO NuturFreunde, said that the demonstration aims much more than the preservation of the Hambach forest: "It's about whether or not we can avoid the ecological self-destruction of humanity. , but also that of oil and gas. "
The demonstration was temporarily forbidden, after the police decided not to allow it, considering that it could not guarantee the security of such a concentration, but the Aquisgrán Contentious-Administrative Court agreed with the environmentalists.
In parallel, the High Court of Administrative Litigation of Münster decided on Friday to stop logging the forest until the result of the complaint filed by the League for the Protection of Nature and the Environment (BUND in its acronym in German) against the RWE plan, which has been opposed by environmental movements in a frontal manner.
The battle against the cutting of the Hambach forest, about 12,000 years old, has been underway for more than six years, since in 2012 groups of activists occupied the forest area to prevent its destruction.
RWE recently won the support of local authorities to extend its nearby open-pit coal mine on one hundred hectares and police began a few weeks ago to evict the activists who had settled in the forest in dozens of houses hanging in the tops of the trees
The eviction met with great resistance from activists and residents of the area, who began to demonstrate in the vicinity.
The Hambach forests covered 85 square kilometers until the 1980s, but half have already been cut by RWE, which estimates there are still 2,500 million tons of lignite to be extracted.