Tens of thousands march in Amsterdam for a better climate

Photo: Robin Utrecht ANP

Tens of thousands of people have taken part in Sunday’s march in Amsterdam in support of measures to combat climate change.

According to the organisers, up to 70,000 people took to the streets to join the protest, which would make it the biggest ever pro-climate demonstration in the capital. The police later confirmed that figure.

Two years ago, a new record was set when 40,000 marched through the capital opposing climate change.

The demonstrators walked from the Dam in the city centre to the Museumplein  carried banners with texts such as “Tilburg on Sea, no”  and “dino, dodo, who is next”.

Police said the first demonstrators had reached the end destination before some had left the Dam. Once at the Museumplein, they were addressed by a number of speakers, including Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg. It is the first time she has taken part in a Dutch demonstration against climate change.

The march was organized by nine organisations united as the “climate crisis coalition”, including Oxfam Novib, Extinction Rebellion, Greenpeace and the FNV trade union federation.

The demonstrators could also join in various different blocks in the march, including a block against major polluters, a feminist block and a vegan block.

Dutch politicians such as Frans Timmermans (GroenLinks-PvdA), Esther Ouwehand (PvdD), Rob Jetten (D66), Laurens Dassen (Volt) and Lilian Marijnissen (SP) were also at the rally. Several demonstrators carried banners criticising Pieter Omtzigt, currently leading in the polls, for not making more of climate policy in his new party’s manifesto.

A Volkskrant journalist reported that one of the speakers shouted “from the river to sea, Palestine will be free” several times when she was speaking on stage, much to the anger of parts of the crowd. The sound was then reportedly turned down.

However, later, Thunberg handed the microphone back to the woman, saying there can be “no climate justice without international solidarity.”

When she then returned to her own speech, a man climbed on stage and took the microphone off Thunberg, saying he had come for a climate demonstration, not politics. He was removed from the stage to shouts from the crowd.

The organisers said later that the activist had been invited to give a unifying speach about freedom. “This did not happen,” they said in a statement, quoted by the Parool.

Longer trains had been laid on to cope with the number of demonstrators and city officials had warned that tram and bus travel would be disrupted throughout the capital into the evening as the crowd dispersed.

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