Police tow away cars, thwart Amsterdam ring road protest

Extinction Rebellion demonstrators waiting by the A10. Photo: Koen van Weel ANP

Amsterdam police on Saturday thwarted attempts by climate demonstrators to blockade the A10 ring road by towing away cars that were being used as a barrier to stop traffic.

Extinction Rebellion had planned to hold a third demonstration on the road, next to the former ING offices and close to the junction with the A4 motorway.

In the previous two protests, in which hundreds of people were arrested, they drove cars onto the highway and then brought them to a halt, holding back traffic so the rest of the protestors could access the ring road safely.

On Saturday, however, police moved in to remove the vehicles, a spokesman told local broadcaster AT5. XR said shortly afterward on Telegram that the protest had failed “due to unforeseen circumstances”.

Video footage showed trucks on the highway towing away five cars belonging to the activists.

Hundreds of people had gathered on the edge of the highway waiting to access the road, but the crowd gradually broke up, AT5 said.

On February 24, some 300 demonstrators were arrested for halting traffic on the ring road, and last December 400 demonstrators were removed from the ring road and six of them were fined €200.

Extinction Rebellion organised the protest as part of their campaign to get ING to stop investing in fossil fuels.

The campaign group said later in a press release that the police action, which it said also included opening bridges and encircling groups of protestors, was an “unprecedented restriction of the freedom to demonstrate”.

The next demonstration may not be announced in advance, the organisation said.

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