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Hundreds of anti-coal protesters break into German mine

Hundreds of anti-coal protesters entered a mine in western Germany on Saturday to protest the continued extraction and use of fossil fuels.

Environmentalists object to the German government's decision to allow the mining and burning of coal in the country until 2038, a deadline the activists say is too late to effectively tackle climate change.

Activists are also protesting the planned destruction of several villages to make way for the expansion of the Garzweiler strip mine, west of Cologne.

Activists block Garzweiler power plant site, a coal conveyor, in Grevenbroich, western Germany, Saturday, Sept. 26, 2020. Anti-coal protesters have entered a mine to protest the continued extraction and use of fossil fuels. (David Youngdpa via AP)

Police and utility company RWE said some protesters broke into the mine and coal storage facilities early Saturday.

The Garzweiler mine and nearby power plants have been a focus of protests for several years. Environmentalists say they are among the biggest sources of harmful pollution and greenhouse gas emissions in Europe.

Activists are surrounded by police on the Garzweiler power plant grounds in Grevenbroich, western Germany, Saturday, Sept. 26, 2020. Anti-coal protesters have entered a mine to protest the continued extraction and use of fossil fuels. (David Youngdpa via AP)

Police officers on horses secure the Garzweiler surface coal mine, passing a sign reading 'climate activism is not a crime' near Keyenberg, Germany, Friday, Sept. 25, 2020. Several groups like 'Friday for Future' or 'Ende Gelaende' started actions for climate justice in the coming days throughout Germany. The movement demands that the German government phase out coal by 2030 and make Germany carbon neutral by 2035. (AP PhotoMartin Meissner)