Thousands of climate activists block major motorway in The Hague
Thousands of climate change activists block major motorway in The Hague for hours: Protesters wearing swimming costumes defy police orders and dance as cops fire water cannons at them
- Protestors from Extinction Rebellion and Greenpeace blocked road for hours
- They vowed to ‘come back every day’ until fuel subsidies are dropped
Thousands of climate change activists today blocked a major motorway in The Hague for hours.
The protesters – from Extinction Rebellion, Greenpeace and other organisations – broke through a police barrier Saturday morning and sat on a main road heading to the temporary venue for the lower house of parliament.
It is the latest high-profile action from the groups to protest subsidies given to industries that use fossil fuels.
Protesters wore swimming costumes and waterproof coats as they danced while police fired water cannons against them on the Utrechtsebaan on the A12.
The activists have threatened a permanent blockade of the motorway, vowing to ‘stay or come back every day’ until fossil fuel subsidies are dropped.
Among those held was Dutch actress Carice van Houten, best known for her role as Melisandre in the hit TV series ‘Game of Thrones,’ said Extinction Rebellion spokeswoman Anne Kervers.
The police use water cannons against climate activists from Extinction Rebellion who block the Utrechtsebaan on the A12 in The Hague
Protesters on the front line held up their fists in resistance or put their heads down to protect themselves from the jets of water
They also held up signs, with one reading: ‘What about future generations?’ to protest against fuel subsidies
Arrested protestors are wheeled of by Dutch police after blocking a highway. Police have made an unknown number of arrests
Police arrested another protestor, who looked like they had brought an inflatable swan along
Dutch actress Carice van Houten participates in the action by climate activists
Horns, whistles and police sirens could be heard around the city, as protesters paraded the streets in vehicles.
READ MORE: Dutch police arrest more than 1,500 Extinction Rebellion activists: Protesters block main road in The Hague as cops load disrupters onto buses – with one BITING an officer
The activists brandished signs with sayings like ‘Fossil Fuel Subsidies are Not Cool,’ and warned that the extreme temperatures seen around the world this summer are a sign of the future, if fossil fuels aren’t abandoned.
After several hours, police moved in and fired volleys from water cannons at the crowd, and picked up or dragged some protesters away, wheeling them away in special orange wagons.
Protesters on the front line held up their fists in resistance or put their heads down to protect themselves from the jets of water.
Those farther back danced and jumped up and down under the spray, appearing to enjoy the shower on an unusually hot September day for the Netherlands.
Around 25,000 people had turned out from across the country for the protest by early afternoon according to Extinction Rebellion.
The Hague mayoral spokesman Robin Middel put the turnout at around 10,000 to 12,000.
‘This is much larger than any one of us. This concerns the whole world,’ activist Yolanda de Jager said.
People practice yoga, as climate activists block the A12 highway in The Hague
Activists shield themselves from the onslaught of water cannons by using umbrellas
Dutch police block the way of climate activists from the ‘Extinction Rebellion’ group protesting at the Utrechtsebaan
Protesters were taken aback by the powerful water cannons fired by police
Police officers remove climate activists from Extinction Rebellion group
Dutch police escort a protester with a placard reading: ‘What can you do with 37500 million?’
Another sign read ‘This is an emergency’ as protesters sat on the ground, and refused to move for the foreseeable future
Climate activists create the text ‘Stop Fossil Subsidies’ prior to the blockage of the A12 motorway
An empty Utrechtsebaan and the A12 in The Hague during the blockade action and demonstration by climate activists from Extinction Rebellion
Police use water cannons to disperse climate activists from the ‘Extinction Rebellion’ group
But protesters seemed to be enjoying the spray from the water as a respite from the heat
Police tackled protesters to the ground as they were apprehended on Saturday
‘Our government is supposed to protect us. Instead they subsidise the fossil fuel industry,’ said another.
Police made an unknown number of arrests.
‘A lot of money is being invested in the wrong place. Those using the most fossil fuels at the moment are the ones getting the most subsidies. This is slowing down the transition (to renewable energy),’ Katrien Joosten, a 46-year-old architect said, as she marched with her 13-year-old son.
‘I can just about accept the water cannon, but I think he’s too young to be arrested,’ she added, as she pulled him back from the front-line.
Police unions had warned in a statement on Friday that policing the demonstration required a deployment ‘that the Netherlands can ill-afford,’ with the protesters snarling traffic on a major entry route to The Hague.
The activists say the Dutch government hands around 37.5 billion euros (£32billion) annually in subsidies to industries that use oil, coal and gas.
A report published on Monday said the Dutch government spends tens of billions per year in subsidies to industries that use fossil fuels.
A protestor holds a sign reading ‘Fossil Subsidies Are Not Cool’ while balancing on rollerblades
The water cannons formed a rainbow in the hot sunshine as protesters wore swimsuits
Protesters wore swimming costumes and waterproof coats as they danced while police fired water cannons against them
Climate activists sat on the floor, while one brought along an inflatable unicorn
Police vehicles line up as protestors block a highway during a climate protest of Extinction Rebellion and other activists near the Dutch parliament
An inflatable Earth bounces around over activists blocking the A12 motorway in protest against the government’s support for the fossil fuel industry
Dutch police uses a water cannon to disperse protestors who blocked a highway during a climate protest of Extinction Rebellion
Activists shielded themselves with their hands as water cannons were fired at them by police
It was published by the The Centre for Research on Multinational Corporations, known as SOMO, the Dutch arm of Friends of the Earth and Oil Change International.
‘No matter what The Hague city council makes the police do, we will stay or come back every day. And that’s until the government meets our demand: an immediate end to all subsidies for fossil fuels’, warned Extinction Rebellion Netherlands on its website.
At a similar event in May, police had also deployed water cannon to disperse the demonstration, arresting more than 1,500 people from a total of around 7,000 protesters.
The Extinction Rebellion group has conducted a series of high-profile stunts to draw attention to the climate change emergency, most recently targeting the US Open tennis semi-final in New York.
The country is often seen as a leader in renewable energy and progressive climate policies, and Minister for Climate and Energy Rob Jetten acknowledged that the country has to end the subsidies, but has offered no timeline.
The report calls on lawmakers to begin phasing out the subsidies before the country’s general election in November.
A new protest is planned for Sunday.
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