The globally renowned campaigner was detained on Tuesday while demonstrating against the planned destruction of the village of Luetzerath to make way for the expansion of the Garzweiler 2 opencast coal mine.
The 20-year-old, who joined thousands of others taking part in the two-year protests last week, had been physically escorted away from the village by police on Sunday after refusing to comply with a request to leave.
But following the village’s eviction, protesters returned on Tuesday to demonstrate at the mine, which has become a flashpoint for tensions over Germany’s energy policies in the face of the climate and inflationary crises.
Police officers in North Rhine-Westphalia were photographed carrying Thunberg away from the mine, and she was later seen sitting alone on a police bus.
According to reports, the initiator of the global School Strike for Climate campaign had been sat with a group of protesters near the edge of the mine – into which one activist was claimed by police to have jumped.
“Greta Thunberg was part of a group of activists who rushed towards the ledge. However, she was then stopped and carried by us with this group out of the immediate danger area to establish their identity,” a spokesperson for Aachen police told Reuters, adding one activist had jumped into the mine.
Footage showed a police officer telling the group: “We are going to use force to bring you to the identity check, so please cooperate.”
It was not yet clear what would happen to Thunberg or the group she was detained with, or whether the activist who jumped into the mine was injured, the spokesperson said.
The government’s plans to demolish Lutzerath are part of a “compromise” deal reached with energy giant RWE last year allowing it to destroy the abandoned village in return for ending coal use by 2030, rather than 2038.