More than 3,000 arrested as massive climate protests block major Netherlands motorway for fifth day

Protestors say they would continue until Dutch government stops using public funds to subsidise oil and gas industry

Stuti Mishra
Thursday 14 September 2023 13:12 BST

More than 3,000 arrested as massive climate protests block major Netherlands motorway

Police in the Netherlands arrested over 3,000 climate activists this week during ongoing protests against government subsidies given to planet-heating fossil fuels.

Extinction Rebellion, the organisation which called for protests, said this is the highest number of arrests they have faced from a single demonstration.

“It's the most we have ever had," Hester Op De Laak, a representative of Extinction Rebellion told The Independent.

She said around 2,400 people were arrested on Monday alone, with several hundred arrests taking place on Saturday and Sunday.

The protests continued on the fifth consecutive day on Wednesday with hundreds of people blocking a major highway which connects to The Hague, the seat of the Dutch government.

Local police said activists marched onto the A12 highway and blocked all incoming traffic to the city, the news agency ANP reported.

Authorities said they warned protesters to stay off the road and detained people who ignored orders to leave.

The group said it would continue till the Dutch government stopped using public funds to subsidise the oil and gas industry, as they have done in recent months.

All the detained protesters have been released after being removed from the scene, the authorities said.

On Monday, the police deployed water cannons to disperse the crowd, with photos and videos showing activists drenched in water and some being taken off the scene.

No injuries have been reported, authorities said.

Dutch police uses water cannon to clear climate activists from the highway in The Hague, Netherlands

“25,000 People Block Amsterdam A12 Motorway,” said Just Stop Oil on Monday, another group of climate activists, sharing a video of protestors holding banners as police fired water cannons.

In one video, activists could be heard chanting: “What do we want? Climate justice!”

On Saturday an estimated 10,000 activists joined the protest, while on Sunday several hundreds blocked the road, Reuters news agency reported.

People are sprayed by a water cannon, as climate activists block the A12 highway in The Hague, Netherlands

Earlier this year in May, 1,579 protestors of Extinction Rebellion were arrested from the same spot. The police released most of them but said 40 people would face charges.

Over 1,000 arrests took place in the UK in 2022 after climate protestors blocked oil terminals.

According to a report published last week by the Center for Research on Multinational Corporations, these subsidies total around €37.5bn (£32.23bn) each year.

Burning fossil fuels – such as coal, oil and gas – is responsible for the majority of carbon pollution that is heating the world and fuelling more extreme weather and disasters.

Scientific assessments have found that the global average temperature has already risen by about 1.2 degrees Celsius and it is set to rise more, triggering worse extreme heatwaves, droughts, hurricanes and wildfires.

The year 2023 has seen the hottest summer on record, the United Nations confirmed this month with temperatures between June to August standing at 1.5C higher than normal.

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