Police in The Hague used water cannon to remove climate activists from the A12 highway late on Saturday afternoon, after they refused to end the blockade.
Several hundred protestors were arrested and taken away in police buses. Later on Saturday evening the police said some 700 people had been arrested and all but three had been released.
The fire brigade set up a tent with dry clothes and medical check for those who had been blasted by the water. The move was a precaution to make sure no-one got hypothermia, the city officials said.
Wij komen op voor het leven. Geweldloos, alleen met onze lichamen. En dit is hoe we behandeld worden. #A12 #StopFossieleSubsidies #Klimaatrechtvaardigheid #Demonstratierecht pic.twitter.com/RCmXOfH0T7
— Extinction Rebellion Nederland (@NLRebellion) March 11, 2023
Nevertheless, Greenpeace Nederland director Andy Palmen described the use of water cannon as ‘unacceptable’.
‘It does not fit the notion of a city which stands for peace and freedom,’ he said.
The A12 had been completely closed to traffic at the start of the demonstration in the early afternoon but partly reopened towards 2pm.
The city council had refused to give permission for the demonstration, referring the demonstrators instead to the Koekamp, a park close to the main railway station.
According to organisers Extinction Rebellion, some 3,000 people took part in the protest.
Meanwhile several thousand people gathered in the city’s Zuiderpark to protest at the government’s strategy to deal with nitrogen, as well as the failure to properly deal with the childcare benefit and Groningen gas scandals.
Demonstrators carried upside down Dutch flags – which have become symbolic of the farmers’ protests – and heart-shaped balloons as they listened to the speakers, including far right leaders Geert Wilders and Thierry Baudet.
That demonstration ended peacefully soon after 4pm.
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