Stop Coal. Protect the Climate!

  • 24th to 29th of August 2017Rhineland Open Pit mines
  • 3rd to 5th November 2017during the UN-Climate Conference

Perspectives-Meeting in early February 2018



Who can take part?

Everyone can take part in Ende Gelände as a matter of principle. We’ve agreed on an action consensus as a common statement of intent: our aim is to enter and block the lignite mine and other coal mining infrastructure with as many people as possible. We think it’s important for everyone to have a good overview of the situation and for people with no or little experience of direct action to be able to participate. For this reason we’re offering training workshops and information events at the climate camp during the few days before the direct action.

What makes Ende Gelände different from other forms of direct action?

There has been serious resistance to open cast mining and the use of coal for electricity generation in Lusatia and the Rhineland for several decades. Ende Gelände sees itself as one of many forms of resistance against Europe’s greatest CO2 producers. The idea of Ende Gelände is to use critical mass as opposed to blocking diggers in small groups. We aim to enable lots of people to go a step further than demonstrations and human chains – and actively prevent CO2 emissions. We’re willing to discuss our aim of blocking the mine and preventing the extraction of coal and its use in energy generation in public in advance of the direct action – among other reasons because we think our concern is totally legitimate given the urgency of action on climate change.

Isn’t that illegal?

Science and the general public do not seriously dispute the fact that climate change is caused by humans and that we urgently need measures to significantly reduce CO2 emissions. And it’s equally undeniable that the effects of continuing climate change will affect millions of people, particularly those who are least responsible for it. But the politicians simply make rhetorical speeches with targets for the end of the century with no immediate practical measures and at the same time pave the way for further emissions. Such as by allowing the expansion of open-cast mines and oil extraction from tar sands or by negotiating further free trade agreements. The Paris Climate Conference in December may have agreed on the worthy aim of maximum 1.5⁰C warming, but there’s no trace of it being put into practice.

Yes, Ende Gelände is not permitted by law, but given current politics it is completely legitimate and necessary. It falls within the tradition of civil disobedience which puts its own deeper form of righteousness before formal law.

How can I take part?

In essence: if you come earlier, you’ll be better prepared. Come to the climate camp, take part in the training workshops, discuss things with your affinity group, get an impression of the mines and the different places where the action will happen.

Can I take part even if I don’t want to go into the mine?

Everyone is invited to take part in a way he/she feels confident in doing. People who don’t want to go into the mine can support the direct action by protesting in a demonstration on the edge of the mine, on the roads leading to it and in front of the gates. This year we’re also broadening our horizons and will block the railway tracks which enable coal extraction.

How will we behave during the direct action?

Police lines or blocks may try to stop us on the way to the pit. We will avoid them or find gaps and flow through them. We’re not going to let this stop us and won’t let ourselves be drawn into possible police escalation strategies. We don’t want to hurt anyone and are neither targeting police officers nor their vehicles. Our aim is to get to the mine and the tracks and sit down there. Our main form of protection is in mass participation – including journalists and famous people. We’ll take straw, foam and inflatable mattresses so that we’re comfortable during the sit-in. We’ll behave calmly and rationally, we won’t cause any escalation, we won’t put anyone in danger. We want to use our bodies to block and occupy and we won’t destroy or damage any infrastructure in doing so. We’ll stay together and take control of the pit!

What legal consequences can there be to taking part in Ende Gelände?

In our legal section we have summarised the possible legal consequences. However, of the 400 people who were apparently reported for taking part in the direct action last year only a few people received letters. The larger the number of people who take part, the less likely it is that there will be legal consequences.

Everyone should however be aware that people participating in the Ende Gelände direct action may be arrested and possibly even receive a penalty. But remember: you’ll never be alone. The solidarity amongst those arrested and knowledge that supportive people outside will be campaigning for your release will help you. Make sure you know your rights e.g. from Rote Hilfe or at the climate camp.

What is an affinity group?

An affinity group is an association of 5 to 15 people who trust each other and take part in direct action together. This group size makes it possible for everyone to have enough time to talk but doesn’t make decision making too slow. Affinity groups have two main functions:

  1. They are the best way of protecting the individual at a demonstration, direct action or similar event. Affinity groups are there to look out for each other and give the individual a space to discuss his/her worries.
  2. Affinity groups are an important part of autonomous organisation. On the one hand they let large groups act more effectively, for example when decision making structures are built around a delegate system. They also provide participants with a good opportunity not just to follow on but to contribute to the direct action with their own ideas and plans.

There’s not been a training workshop in my city in advance of the action – can I still take part in Ende Gelände?

Yes of course, you can take part in the direct action without having been to a training workshop. However, it will still be possible to attend one at the climate camp.

What should I take with me?

Since the terrain, particularly in the mine, is quite rough, you must take sturdy shoes with you, ideally walking boots. You also need practical old clothes which can get dirty (ideally tops with long sleeves, trousers etc.). You also need to be prepared for sun and rain, no-one can say what the weather’s going to be like. There will be food at the camp, but you do need to prepare a packed lunch before the direct action and have water bottles with you. In case the police use tear gas (unlikely), it’s better not to put on fatty creams or make-up at the start and instead keep the sunscreen in your bag so that you’ve got it with you for the sit-in. And in case it goes on for longer – pack pocket and head torches.

Will the police not stop us from getting to the mine?

The pit is huge. The police can’t block the perimeter because it’s several kilometres long. Our route there also crosses fields and woods. Unlike in a city we don’t have to stick to the paths, but instead can avoid police lines. If there are more of us activists than police officers we can spread out until we create a gap somewhere.

How long do you want to block the mine for?

Our aim is to block the mine for as long as possible. So prepare for this and take enough water, food and sun/rain gear with you.

Do I necessarily have to show my face?

No, no-one has to reveal their identity if they don’t want to. Creative costumes are as much part of the direct action as uncovered faces.

Where can I stay overnight?

There will be a climate camp. You are all very welcome to attend. Make sure to take a sleeping bag and a camping mat with you and, if you can, also a tent.

I’m not yet 18, can I still come along?

Yes, of course, however, your parents may be informed if you are arrested. So you should maybe talk to them about it first.