In the Netherlands, nearly 1,000 demonstrators arrested during climate action

Dutch police announced on Saturday (February 3) that they had made around 1,000 arrests during a civil disobedience action by the environmental movement Extinction Rebellion on a highway to protest against fossil fuel subsidies

In the Netherlands, nearly 1,000 demonstrators arrested during climate action

Dutch police announced on Saturday (February 3) that they had made around 1,000 arrests during a civil disobedience action by the environmental movement Extinction Rebellion on a highway to protest against fossil fuel subsidies.

Protesters blocked the Utrechtsebaan section of the A12 motorway in central The Hague, located a stone's throw from Parliament and main ministries, early this afternoon. Forty-five minutes later, police began evacuating them one by one, according to the General Press Office of the Netherlands (or ANP, for Algemeen Nederlands Persbureau), the largest Dutch news agency.

“We arrested around a thousand activists for violating the law on public demonstrations,” the police said on X. They will not be prosecuted, police told NOS public television. The highway is once again open to traffic, the media said.

Ninth punch action of this type

This heavy-handed action was the ninth of this type in The Hague since July 2022. In October, Extinction Rebellion blocked the highway daily for several weeks in a row. Dutch MPs then asked the outgoing government to present a concrete plan to phase out subsidies granted to fossil fuel industries, estimated at between €39.7 billion and €46.4 billion.

These plans “were to be drawn up by the outgoing cabinet before the new year,” but “so far there has been silence,” the Dutch branch of Extinction Rebellion said on its website. “The Senate even voted against eliminating two fossil fuel subsidies in December. It’s clear: politics is going backwards,” according to activists. “The time has therefore come for new blockages of the A12,” announced the movement.

After his surprise electoral victory, far-right leader Geert Wilders is still trying to form a government in the Netherlands. Local media report heated discussions between the parties, while the person responsible for overseeing the negotiations is due to submit a report to Parliament next week.