Hundreds arrested at climate protest on A12 in The Hague

Demonstrators who were lying on the road were taken away one by one. Photo: Jesper Peeters/ Hollandse Hoogte / GinoPress
Demonstrators were taken away one by one. Photo: Jesper Peeters / HH / GinoPress

Hundreds of climate activists were arrested in The Hague after blocking the A12 highway in both ways on Saturday afternoon in protest at government subsidies for fossil fuels such as oil and gas.

The road was cleared around 4pm when the last activists, who had climbed up a pole, were removed by police.

By late afternoon, police said at least 200 people were arrested but Extinction Rebellion, which organised the protest, said some 500 people had been picked up.

Around 1,000 others had also gathered above the underpass to support the blockade on the highway which runs through the city, close to government ministries.

One banner carried by the demonstrators claimed that ‘€17.5 billion euros of taxpayers money is going to fossil fuels’. Another said ‘this is a dead end street’.

Some of the demonstrators had glued themselves to the road or chained themselves together in an effort to slow down their removal. Police used chain cutters to separate the activists and, reportedly, cola to dissolve the glue.

‘I am prepared to be arrested,’ one law student told broadcaster NOS. ‘We are not doing this without a reason. Something has to happen now. And we will stay here until the police remove us.’

The police moved in to start removing demonstrators at around 12.45, after first calling on the activists to clear the area or face arrest. By 2pm, dozens of people had been arrested and placed in buses.

Representatives from dozens of other campaign groups took part in the above ground demonstration, saying they were there to protest at the way the right to demonstrate is being restricted in the Netherlands.

Earlier this week, seven people were arrested in their homes for calling on people to attended today’s demonstration.

Update: On Sunday, police confirmed that 768 people had been arrested during the protests and that all but two had been released. 

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