Eviction of Hambach forest

September 2018

Since the morning of Thursday September 13th police and energy group RWE are attempting to clear the Hambach forest occupation near the open-cast lignite mine Hambach.
For more than six years activists have been holding the forest of Hambach occupied. Energy company RWE wants to clear the ancient forest to expand the nearby located open lignite mine. There are only 10 per cent left of the old forest as the other 90 per cent have already been cleaned to extract coal. 3500 police officers on duty symbolize one of the biggest and most expensive police operations in history of North Rhine-Westphalia. Police officers from different federal states of Germany have been sent to the forest, specialized officers as climbing police or police on horseback are on duty. The eviction of the forest of Hambach stands symbolic for the climate fight in whole Europe. While the coal comission is still in session and Germany is far away from attempting their climate objectives, police officers and RWE workers are now trying to clear the forest from climate activists. Judically this is backed due to ‘danger of fire’ in the forest. To reach the tree houses with lifting platforms, trees have alredy been chopped down. Activists are resisting by building barricades, chaining themselves to trees or staying in underground tunnels to prevent the usage of heavy machinery. Last weekend, after a demonstration of ten thousand people, several hundred made it to the forest by running past police lines, supporting the occupation either by symbolically planting trees or engaging in civil unrest blocking treehouses to be evicted.
Since the beginning of the eviction, police and RWE workers tried several times to hold journalists back from entering the forest or coming close to eviction sites, which led to a public statement by the federal journalists union with concerns on press freedom.
In national and international press, the eviction is highly critizised and public pressure on energy company RWE is getting stronger. As the clearing season starts on October 14th, RWE wants to finish the occupation until then.