The arrest of six climate activists on charges of incitement are a further indication of the erosion of the right to demonstrate, left wing MPs and environmental groups said on Friday.
The six were picked up on Thursday morning after urging people to blockade the Utrechtsebaan in The Hague on Saturday afternoon. They were released on Thursday afternoon but banned from approaching the A12 thoroughfare.
The public prosecution department has described the arrests as justified because the planned action would be both dangerous and disruptive.
But some MPs say the decision is undemocratic and conflicts with the approach taken towards farmers who blocked dozens of roads with their tractors. In addition, they say, the arrests were made before anything had taken place.
‘The right to demonstrate is at risk,’ Christine Teunissen, leader of the pro animal PvdD told NOS radio.
Meanwhile, an Extinction Rebellion activist who was arrested a week ago on incitement charges after encouraging people to block the road last week, has also been banned from the Utrechtsebaan on Saturday.
A court in The Hague said on Friday that the ban should remain in force until his actual case his heard next week.
‘You are free to make your opinions clear on the Malieveld or in the centre of The Hague,’ the judge said.
The FNV trade union, Greenpeace Nederland, Milieudefensie and six other organisations have also said they now intend to take part in Saturday’s protest. They too argue that farmers were given an easier time by police and the public prosecutor than climate activists.
The seven activists’ lawyer Willem Jebbink told the Volkskrant on Friday that his clients were being stopped from exercising in their democratic right to demonstrate.
‘On July 27, when the farmers took action in lost of places, the police told them after a discussion they could demonstrate as long as it was not for more than two hours,’ he said. ‘If climate activists are not shown the same level of tolerance, then you really are talking about unequal treatment.’
Thank you for donating to DutchNews.nl.
We could not provide the Dutch News service, and keep it free of charge, without the generous support of our readers. Your donations allow us to report on issues you tell us matter, and provide you with a summary of the most important Dutch news each day.Make a donation