Several hundred climate demonstrators turned up to protest on the A12 motorway near The Hague on Monday, the demonstration was cleared within two hours and around 210 people are thought to have been arrested.
This was the third day of action in what Extinction Rebellion (XR) is calling a “permanent” protest on the motorway. Around 500 people were held on Sunday, the second day of a “permanent” climate demonstration on the A12 motorway, according to Dutch police.
On Saturday, the first day of the action by Extinction Rebellion activists, water cannon were used and around 2,400 people were arrested for breaching demonstration laws. Demonstrations need to happen with public agreement, and authorities banned the action on the motorway and asked demonstrators to protest at a nearby site near the main railway station.
Police said that “dozens” of the people arrested at the weekend were under 18, and some people were held for alleged “criminal acts”. On Sunday, a demonstration began at around midday, the police again used water cannon and made arrests and by 2.25pm the road was open.
It emerged on Monday that two activists were still in custody for allegedly having caused “dangerous situations” on the A12 at the weekend. Those who were briefly arrested for breaching demonstration rules will not face further legal consequences, police said.
Jan van Zanen, mayor of The Hague, said that the ninth motorway blockade on Sunday violated the right to protest and that he would stand up against disruption of the city.
“I am not talking about the goals these people are pursuing, but I am very concerned about the disruptive actions that have been announced for the work days ahead,” he said in a statement. “Many tens of thousands of people have to go back to work along this important access route.”
Extinction Rebellion is campaigning against the use of fossil fuels and tax breaks – known as “fossil subsidies” – for companies that use them.
Climate minister Rob Jetten has pledged to investigate further the precise level of these tax breaks and to reduce them.
MPs called for a concrete plan after a Friends of the Earth Netherlands report suggested last week that these advantages are worth €37.5 billion a year for polluting industries, rather than the €4.5 billion the government had asssumed.
Ik werk elke dag aan wat XR terecht vraagt: afbouwen van alle fossiele subsidies. Ik deel ook de zorgen van de politie. Snelwegen blokkeren, agenten van hun werk houden? Dat moet anders kunnen.
Graag ga ik straks in gesprek rondom de steundemonstratie op de toegestane locatie. https://t.co/NXKBzXwOIj
— Rob Jetten (@RobJetten) September 9, 2023
Updated on Monday afternoon
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