LUETZERATH, Germany (AP) — A court in Germany has rejected a last-ditch attempt by climate activists to stay in an abandoned village which is due to be cleared for the expansion of a coal mine that's become a battleground between the government and environmentalists.
The regional administrative court in Muenster late Monday confirmed a lower court decision forbidding the activists from remaining in the hamlet of Luetzerath, west of Cologne.
The court dismissed the activists' argument that civil disobedience at the site was justified due to the climate crisis.
Utility company RWE wants to extract the coal beneath Luetzerath, arguing that this is necessary to ensure energy security in Germany.
Police have said no clearance will take place until after a town hall event later Tuesday.
Nearby, a group of about 100 protesters were locked in a standoff with police. Officers briefly used pepper spray to push back the line of activists, who chanted “We are peaceful, what are you?”
Some activists were perched on tripods in an attempt to block a key road into the village.