Germans protest expansion of coal mine into ancient forest


BERLIN (AP) – Protesters in western Germany are demonstrating against a large strip coal mine that wants to expand into an ancient forest, with some activists occupying a coal excavator at the site.

The Hambach mine has become a cause celebre for environmentalists amid plans to clear part of neighboring Hambach Forest to make way for an expansion. Earlier this month, a German court blocked the felling of the forest near Cologne, saying it needs time to examine whether the woodland deserves protected status.

The dpa news agency reported that activists said more than 5,000 people were heading toward the mine on Saturday. Police said about 40 protesters occupied an excavator, with eight of them climbing onto the machine.

Separately, employees of the energy company RWE were demonstrating for their jobs to be preserved.

Aktivist attend a protest march against the plans to clearing and grubbing the Hambach Forest for an open-pit lignite mine, near the city of Dueren, Germany, Saturday, Oct. 28, 2018. The second sentence on the poster reads: ‘Humbi stay’. (David Young/dpa via AP)