Today at 10 am the ministry for inner affairs of the federal state North-Rhine Westfalia held a public session discussing police activities in Garzweiler, at the Ende Gelände action on 15 August 2015. After an official complaint the authorities have had to discuss RWE’s role at the protests. The police have been massively criticized by organizations and media for cooperating with RWE workers and using their vehicles to stop the protesters from reaching the biggest land machines in the world – the coal digger 288. Now, there’ll be an assessment if this close cooperation between the biggest carbon polluter of Europe and the German police force in order to defend corporate interests was at all legal.

Also, head editor of the TAZ has filed a formal complaint to the ministry since the work of journalists was massively impeded. Journalists like activists had to face police pepper spray attacks and violence. They were even detained for several hours. The authorities will have to answer to this unbelievable violation of freedom of press.

Even mainstream media heavily criticized the police violence Ende Gelände activists had to face. Activists remained peaceful, adhering to the action agreement at all times and no violence against people or any destruction of infrastructure took place. Despite the calm, considerate, and determined approach of all activist the police reacted with heavy use of pepper spray, batons and tightly bound painful handcuffs.

In the face of violence people remained calm, cared for one another in affinity groups as part of larger groups (called “fingers”), looked out for the wounded and hurt and at no time acted upon any provocation or violence directed at them. This determination to remain peaceful was one of the most powerful decisions taken collectively. This allowed (mainstream) media to actually report about the action and its goals, climate change and the possibility of a coal phase out rather than – as has happened so many times around other actions – to write about the violent protesters throwing stones or property damage. Ende Gelände was able to gain mainstream public support by not acting upon violence by the police or RWE’s security personnel.

RWE and the police however have acted disproportionately against people protesting against Europe’s biggest source of carbon emission while no single property damage occurred. Meanwhile RWE has destroyed landscapes, forests, and communities for decades, has greased politicians, and used all their lobby power to prohibit a just transition to renewable energies. They have never played fair or peaceful. Nor has the police. They did everything to prevent protesters from reaching the mine and its diggers with a disproportionate and excessive amount of violence. They were prepared but they were not enough to stop people power in the face of climate destruction. The batons they used left quite a few bruises, which are still healing. But this violence is nothing compared to the wonderful solidarity, the amazing courage, and the love for people and planet of the 1500 fellow activists who took action on August 15th. I want to thank them, want to thank you all for being such bold, inspiring, dedicated and passionate individuals.  A strong and safe community was built, preparing people to do go into the mine together.

This will not be the last time people stand up and the community will continue to grow in new ways, meeting and crossing paths at joint actions again in the future. The solidarity with those most impacted by fossil extraction and the severe consequences of climate change – which we are already facing today – will deepen. Solidarity is love. And love is not a feeling – it’s an action.

20566765166_d29dfb105a_k (1)

For more climate movement news, follow 350 on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram