German police finish clearing site of violent anti-coal protests

Police on Sunday said they had almost finished clearing climate activists from a German village being razed to make way for a coal mine expansion, as both sides accused each

other of violence. In an operation that began on Wednesday, hundreds of police have removed around 300 activists from the doomed hamlet of Luetzerath in western

Germany. The clear-out had initially been expected to last weeks, but police said on Sunday only two activists remained in the village, holed up in an underground

tunnel. "There are no further activists in the Luetzerath area," they said. The site, which has become a symbol of resistance to fossil fuels, had attracted thousands

of protesters on Saturday, including Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg. Organisers said that 35,000 protesters demonstrated, while police put the figure at

15,000. Protest organisers reported that dozens had been injured in clashes with police. Indigo Drau, a spokeswoman for the organisers, said the police had gone in

with "pure violence" while trying to disperse the demo. Officers had "unrestrainedly" beaten protesters, often on the head, the organisers said.  At least 20 activists

had been taken to hospital for treatment, said Birte Schramm, a medic with the group. Some of them had been beaten on the head and in the stomach by police, she said. -

Stone-throwing and graffiti - The police said around 70 officers had been injured since Wednesday, many of them in Saturday's clashes. "We have been targeted by

projectiles, with stones, mud, fireworks," police spokesman Andreas Mueller told AFP.