News ID: 115545
Publish Date : 28 May 2023 - 23:04

THE HAGUE (AFP) – More than 1,500 people have been arrested during a demonstration by the Extinction Rebellion climate group in The Hague, Dutch police said.
Activists blocked a section of a motorway in the center of the city, in protest against Dutch fossil fuel subsidies.
Police said they had used water cannon to disperse activists blocking a major road in the city and arrested “a total of 1,579 people … 40 of whom will be prosecuted” on charges including vandalism.
One of the activists bit a policeman during his arrest, police said.
Several Dutch celebrities were among the protesters.
The protests marked the seventh organized by Extinction Rebellion in this area of The Hague, but the highest number of people arrested so far, according to ANP.
The environmental campaign group has in recent years garnered media attention through disruption, hitting roads, airports and other public transport networks with direct action protests against climate change.
Extinction Rebellion accused police of using water cannon just 15 minutes after the start of the blockade – but police said they had asked the activists to leave and gave them a chance to do so before using the water cannon.
Verified video footage captured at the event showed the police used water cannons on the protesters for several hours and later managed to clear the road using police vans.
The 1,579 people who refused to leave were then arrested and many of them were lifted and carried onto buses. Some 850 demonstrators have already been released without charge. While some sustained minor injuries, the protest remained mostly peaceful. Also, police said that one of the activists bit a police officer during his arrest.
Anticipating the water cannon, some protesters wore raincoats or carried umbrellas to face the water cannon as they sat in protest across the motorway, holding banners and signs.
Aaron Pereira, a spokesman for Extinction Rebellion, said that the group has organized six other protests blocking the same motorway. Protesting on this road is banned under rules brought in by the mayor.
“There is broad popular support for real climate action and people are waking up to the fact that the government is actively going against this by subsidizing the fossil fuel industry,” Pereira was quoted as saying.
On Friday, dozens of climate demonstrators gathered in Paris to raise their voices against an annual general meeting of oil company TotalEnergies. French police officers fired tear gas to disperse them.
In April, XR held a four-day campaign outside the UK parliament in order to “highlight the environmental failures” of the government.
The fossil fuel industry threatens global ecosystems and human livelihoods, and scientists have repeatedly warned of its catastrophic climate change effects.
Last month, the world’s leading climate scientists wrote in the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report that the climate time bomb was “ticking” as records for sea level rise, glacier melt, and temperatures were broken.

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