German police halt forest eviction after journalist dies

A man receives medical treatment after he fell off a tree at the Hambach forest in Kerpen, Germany, Wednesday, Sept. 19, 2018. Activists are protesting against the expansion of a coal strip mine in western Germany that would entail the chopping down of an ancient forest. (Christophe Gateau/dpa via AP)

BERLIN (AP) — Authorities in western Germany say they’re suspending the eviction of protesters from a threatened forest after a journalist fell to his death.

Police said Wednesday the young man plunged at least 15 meters (50 feet) from a rope bridge strung between two treehouses in Hambach forest in what appeared to be a “tragic accident.”

The government of North Rhine-Westphalia state later announced it was halting work to clear the forest, which is to make way for a coal mine.

Environmentalists have been trying to prevent the ancient woodland from being chopped down, arguing that Germany should stop extracting and burning fossil fuels.

Dozens of protesters have been camping in the trees in recent weeks, while hundreds more have tried to enter the woods to stop workers from preparing the clearance.

Copyright © 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.