Climate activist Greta Thunberg was accused by Twitter users of staging a “fake arrest” after being briefly detained by German police.
Thunberg, 20, was held by law enforcement Tuesday while protesting the expansion of a coal mine in western Germany. According to Reuters, the young activist, along with a group of protesters, were warned by police that they would be “removed by force” if they did not vacate the mine site.
Reuters also reported that Thunberg was released from custody after an identity check by law enforcement.
Videos circulated on social media Tuesday of Thunberg standing in handcuffs while surrounded by German officers before being carried away from the coal mine. In one clip posted by the Catch Up Network, Thunberg is seen laughing with police while standing for a photo.
“Yes, the Greta Thunberg arrest was staged for the establishment media,” the account captioned the post.
Other Twitter users echoed that Thunberg’s detainment was “fake,” including Charlie Kirk, a conservative political activist who founded the organization Turning Point USA.
“So, it turns out Greta Thunberg’s arrest was as fake as the climate change cult she works for,” Kirk tweeted Tuesday evening.
Conservative political commentator Tim Young also posted about Thunberg, writing, “Nothing says climate change is a total grift quite like Greta Thunberg staging her own fake arrest.”
“AOC was way better at getting fake arrested than Greta Thunberg,” Young added in a separate tweet.
The conservative commentator was referring to New York Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, commonly referred to as AOC, being detained in the summer after participating in a sit-in at the U.S. Supreme Court to protest the overturning of Roe v. Wade. Several GOP lawmakers accused Ocasio-Cortez of faking being handcuffed in the exchange with law enforcement, which the Democrat has denied.
According to a report from the Associated Press (AP), Thunberg joined thousands of protesters who gathered in the western German village of Luetzerath over the weekend in protest of the government reaching a deal with a utility company to demolish the town in order to expand the coal mine. On Saturday, protesters who attempted to get close to the edge of the mine were pushed back by police, who used water cannons and batons to control the crowd, reported AP.
On Tuesday, officers detained protesters who refused to move from the site because they were standing at the brink of an open-pit mine, according to USA Today. Police said it was too dangerous for the group, read the report.
Other Twitter users praised Thunberg’s protest, including Peter Kalmus, a climate scientist at NASA.
“Greta’s first arrest,” Kalmus posted, along with a link to an NBC News story about Thunberg’s detainment. “It’s time for many more of us to stand up and risk arrest for the sake of a livable planet. It will turn the tide.”
Research meteorologist Ryan Maue also posted a link to the Reuters report, writing, “Germany’s energy policy is an utter failure, complete disaster, and worldwide shame.”
“Even if the scenes were staged, the arrest of Greta Thunberg is a worldwide embarrassment for Germany,” Maue added in response to a tweet from conservative commentator Ian Miles Cheong, who also claimed Thunberg’s detainment was staged “for the establishment media.”
Newsweek has reached out to Fridays for Future, Thunberg’s organization, for comment.
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