Police arrest over 300 at Amsterdam ring road climate blockade

Police remove demonstrators in the rain. Photo: Sem van der Waal ANP

Over 300 people were arrested during Saturday’s climate protest on the Amsterdam ring road after they refused to clear the road when ordered to do so.

In total, 326 people were picked up and 31 remain in police custody. The others were driven by bus to Amsterdam-Noord where they were released.

The police moved in just over an hour after the first protestors had climbed the barrier onto the highway. The protestors were able to access the road after cars driven by Extinction Rebellion campaigners drove slow and then stopped traffic.

The protest took place close to the junction between the A10 and the A4 motorway where the speed limit is 100 kph and the road is six lanes wide.

City mayor Femke Halsema had pledged to intervene earlier than she did during the last demonstration and there was a heavy police presence close to the former ING offices where the protest took place. The demonstrators were calling on ING, which left the office complex years ago, to stop financing the fossil fuel industry.

Some 30 minutes after the first protestors went on to the motorway, the city said on social media that the demonstration would be broken up. Police also warned the demonstrators they would use their batons and pepper spray to clear the road.

Earlier this month justice minister Dilan Yesilgöz pledged that the police and public prosecution department would start taking a tougher line on demonstrations which cause a lot of disruption, such as blocking roads.

She made the statement after a number of radical farmers blocked roads, set bales of hay on fire and dumped asbestos during the Europe-wide anti-EU farm policy protests.

Last December 400 demonstrators were removed from the ring road and six of them were fined €200 each last week for causing a dangerous situation on the roads. XR said it would appeal against the fines “because the right to demonstrate carries more weight than traffic regulations”.

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