Climate activist Greta Thunberg has been detained by German police following a protest over the expansion of a coal mine

LUETZERATH, Germany, Jan 17 (Reuters) – Climate campaigner Greta Thunberg was detained alongside other activists on Tuesday during protests against the demolition of a village to make way for a coal mine expansion but was released after an identity check, according to police.

Thunberg was held while protesting at the opencast coal mine of Garzweiler 2, some 9 km (5.6 miles) from the village of Luetzerath, after police warned that the group would be removed by force if they did not move away from the edge of the mine.

The village in the western state of North Rhine-Westphalia is being cleared to allow for the expansion of the mine. The mine’s owner, RWE (RWEG.DE), agreed with the government that it could demolish Luetzerath in exchange for its faster exit from coal and the saving of five villages originally slated for destruction.

Activists have said Germany should not be mining any more lignite, or brown coal, and should focus on expanding renewable energy instead.

Riot police backed by bulldozers removed activists from buildings in the abandoned village last week, with only a few left in trees and an underground tunnel by last weekend, but protesters including Thunberg remained at the site staging a sit-in into Tuesday.

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