Who shut shit down? We shut shit down!
The action weekend of Ende Gelände (EG) from June 19th until 24th, 2019 was a weekend of superlatives. For 45 hours, the coal supply to the Neurath power station was blocked. 2,000 activists occupied the open pit mine of Garzweiler. 5,000 to 6,000 people brought the struggle for climate justice to the places of destruction – the Rhenish coal mining district – in a massive act of civil disobedience.
Four large and several small blockade points brought the coal supply trains to RWE’s power plants to a complete standstill. As part of a joint weekend of protestors, 40,000 students occupied the streets in an international “Fridays for Future” (FfF) demonstration in the city of Aachen. 7,000 people, including thousands of FfF and EG activists, moved to the village of Keyenberg on Saturday, which is threatened by complete dredging. These and the “All Villages Stay” alliance emphasized the need for the preservation of all villages worldwide.
The protest weekend has clearly proved one thing: there is no such thing as a “German 2038 Coal Consensus”! Tens of thousands of people from different societal and political groups as well as organizations and alliances within the climate justice movement have worked together and protested in their own way for the immediate coal exit as well as a fundamental system change. They did so in spite of all police and press attempts to split up the alliance of protestees
But all these actions have been carried out at enormous expenses. Unfortunately, we have not yet been able to cover all of these. That is why we urgently need donations now – because the environment does not need the use of cash, but resistance does.
Donations can be easily transferred (as well as the contribution for camp and supplies – in case you may have forgotten 😉 to the following bank account:
IBAN: DE48 4306 0967 1120 8464 00
In addition, we will need additional financial resources for attorneys-at-law and legal advice.
We do not intend to leave anyone alone who has run into legal problems due to the associated actions.
These fund can also be donated to the account mentioned above.
You can donate online here,!too)
Detailed action report
At 10 a.m. the Pink and Silver finger structures left the camp at Viersen counting more than 1,500 activists. Two hours later they were followed by the Green and the Red fingers which counted as many as 2,000 people. At the same time, many activists still arrived to start protesting on Saturday, being well-prepared for their actions during this day. Police responded with repressive tactics and closed the Viersen train station for the rest of the day. The Pink finger was not allowed to take buses to a registered vigil at the Niederaußem power station, where a rave took place with the motto #RWEWegbassen (bassing RWE away). Instead, Pink was kettled at very high temperatures for 12 hours at Viersen station. In doing so, the Northrhine-Westfalia police once again showed what side they are on: they deliberately violated the freedom of assembly in order to protect RWE. Nevertheless, the Pink finger showed impressive stamina and reached Gut Asperschlag at the city of Niederaußem with about half of its original activists. The solidary landowner had invited the EG activists to stay on his beautiful farm area. Being annoyed of the police trying to keep his visitors away, he personally stood on the barbecue to welcome the arriving protestees to offer them an evening snack.
The Silver finger took buses to the city of Bedburg. Here the police detained hundreds of activists at a registered vigil, again. In addition, they would not allow spontaneous protests to take place near the North-South Coal Railway. The Silver finger tried to force its way through the police but was kettled after a few hundred meters. The Silver protestees then spontaneously decided to spend the night at a remote accommodation, in order to set off from there on Saturday and, bypassing the police radar, were able to proceed with their specific actions.
Green and Red decided not to walk to Viersen station at all, but went directly along a 10-kilometer pathway to Mönchengladbach station. On their way EG was greeted loudly by enthusiastic residents, chefs and restaurateurs who supplied them with water and food. The Green finger took the trains to Rommerskirchen and went from here to the North-South Coal Railway which is located just in front of the Neurath power station. From then on, Green blocked the complete supply of coal from the opencast mines to Neurath for about 45 hours.
The Red finger went from the city of Mönchengladbach to Hochneukirch and had planned to continue their walk towards the village of Keyenberg which is threatened by complete dredging. But here, too, the police prevented the march for several hours. It was only when the atmosphere in the finger heated up and people expressed their anger that the police backed away and let the activists proceed with their march. With a lot of partying and in an fantastic atmosphere, Red reached Keyenberg late in the evening, despite having to take another 6 kilometers walk. A local farmer had offered them to stay on his soil for the night, which was only a few hundred meters from the edge of the pit.
Late in the evening, all fingers had reached their destinations. While Green was already blocking the tracks, the other three fingers had positioned themselves to take action against RWE from various locations on the following Saturday.
At 7 a.m., the Golden finger gathered with over 1,500 people and took buses and trains to Mönchengladbach via Viersen. Here, again, the police delayed the arrival of the activists taking part in a march registered by Fridays for Future (FfF) for several hours, so the actual start could only take place with a massive delay in time. But for the students of FfF it was absolutely no option starting before all EG participants had reached their initial positions. Eventually, the march started with 7,000 people. The crowd reached the northern pit edge of the Garzweilers open-cast mine. At that point, EG left the demo and, wildly determined, moved forward into the first levels of this open-cast mine. There were fierce beatings from the police and dangerous attacks of RWE employees om activists. At certain times it looked as if RWE wanted to stop the protest of EG by the life-threatening use of bulldozers and forklifts directed against activists. A number of them had to be hospitalized with broken bones, a concussion, eye socket fracture and abdominal trauma due to the use of batons and minute-long kicking of their bellys. Over the weekend, the police repeatedly escalated situations in an unacceptable manner and violated the fundamental rights of the protestees. But the Golden finger held its position, followed its path towards the north-western part of the Garzweiler mining area and upon arrival, celebrated a giant party.
While Gold blocked the northern routes, the Red finger continued its way from Keyenberg early in the morning towards the southwestern end of the opencast mine. At the city of Immerath, Red left the registered spontaneous demonstration and spread out over hundreds of meters into the open plane. Despite the presence of two equestrian squadrons, the police had no chance to stop the activists on that place. After a march of almost 25 kilometres in just over 24 hours, the exhausted activists finally approached their destination. Only at the very edge of the demolition area, about two-thirds of the Red finger could be stopped by several police squadrons, while the remaining third managed to get it into the pit, divided into several bigger and smaller groups.
This is where the Coloured finger started its game. For the first time in a mass action of civil disobedience, there was a previously announced finger structure for people with wheelchairs and young children, and for all those who would not enter RWE-owned areas because of injunctions, but still wanted to block it effectively. Armed with rainbow flags and letting see their cheerfulness, the Coloured finger gathered at another vigil south-west of Garzweiler and blocked the road just at that moment when the police were trying to cut off the Red finger’s path. However, Police Forces were completely overwhelmed by the extremely stable blockade on the access road to the open-cast mine.
Gold occupied Garzweiler to the north, Red to the south, FfF pulled in along the very edges, while in combined activities of the action groups “Take A Seat” of “All Villages Stay” hundreds of locals and many people from surrounding areas sat protectively right in between the opencast mines and the villages. The climate justice movement showed its unity in the common fight against coal at Garzweiler on Saturday afternoon.
In the meantime, the Silver finger – completely unnoticed – had made its way to the Hambach opencast mine. Silver got off at the Merzenich station and from here, went straight to the Hambach Railway. The activists proceeded very calmly and cautiously and only entered the bed of the railway track after police were already on the tracks. Due to the simultaneous blockade of the North-South Coal Railway near Neurath and the Hambach Railway near Merzenich, traffic on the tracks in the Rhenish district came to a complete standstill at that time. The second giant power plant in the area, Niederaußem, was also blocked from all sides. RWE had to access its coal reserves in the bunkers and directly beside the power plants, because infrastructure was largely paralyzed by EG.
Late at night, the news was confirmed that some activists had even managed to occupy one of the giant coal excavator at the Garzweiler open-cast mine. A number of people from the Silver, Pink and Red finger had meanwhile joined the blockade near the city of Neurath. Throughout the night, people were taken to this spot to reinforce the blockade. At the same time, hundreds of Gold and Red activists remained on the pit area, while those already evacuated were retained for identification at an open-air detention centre at the Skywalk open-cast mine.
EG had jointly decided with all structures on Saturday evening to maintain the blockades until Sunday at 10 a.m. We had agreed in advance on an action scheme in which blockades were planned for up to 2 days. We openly communicated what we were going to do and we did exactly what had been communicated. After we started the action on Friday at 10a.m. we have always been planning to end all actions on Sunday at 10 a.m. However, the police apparently were still looking for a reason for deterrence and, contrary to their assurances from the previous evening, the activists were kettled at 9 a.m., just one hour before the blockades would have been ended as planned. In due process, police officers again indiscriminately beat up activists who only wanted to leave the railway tracks. Only the General Operational Management and the Northrhine-Westfalian Ministry of the Interior may know the reason. In any case, the police had to release all people in the Green finger from custody during the day. As a consequence, the record blockade was extended by a few hours – altogether, Neurath was blocked for about 45 hours in a row.
This action weekend ended with all the blockers and prisoners gradually returning to the camp and being welcomed here with great enthusiasm. During the final plenum atmosphere and at the subsequent party, the athmosphere really boiled over. EG has succeeded in making seemingly impossible things come true and built up blockades with thousands of people at several different points in the Rhenish area simultaneously while organizing and erecting them from a far-out camp site. Despite all attempts of splitting us up, the various organizations that were present during this weekend acted with great solidarity and unity. From the outcomes of this weekend, the climate justice movement will draw even more power, which in return will strengthen their local EG and climate groups. Hereby we shall become even stronger and bigger in aiming at an immediate coal exit and an end to the capitalist era.