Police remove climate activists from Amsterdam ring road

Demonstrators walk along the highway. Photo: Sem van der Waal ANP

The police moved in to remove several hundred climate activists from the Amsterdam ring road early on Saturday afternoon after they refused to clear the highway when ordered to do so.

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 are 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.

Like last time, the protestors were able to access the road after cars driven by Extinction Rebellion campaigners drove slowly 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.

EX said on social media that “hundreds” of activists had been arrested. “We will keep on coming back,” the campaign group said.

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 set bales of hay on fire and dumped asbestos on highways during the Europe-wide anti-EU farm policy protests.

Last December 400 climate demonstrators were removed from the A10 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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