Climate Activists Block Dutch Motorway In Major Protest

(MENAFN- The Peninsula) AFP

The Hague: Climate change activists blocked a major motorway in The Hague Saturday in a protest against Dutch fossil fuel subsidies, the latest high-profile action by the Extinction Rebellion group that attracted several thousand demonstrators.

Police deployed water cannon against some of the activists, who have threatened a permanent blockade of the motorway, vowing to "stay or come back every day" until fossil fuel subsidies are dropped.

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Many protesters had come equipped with umbrellas and donned bathing suits or waterproof coats in preparation for the police water cannons.

Horns, whistles and police sirens could be heard around the city, as protesters paraded the streets in vehicles.

"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 told AFP, 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 ($40.2 billion) annually in subsidies to fossil fuel industries.

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 (XR) group has conducted a series of high-profile stunts to draw attention to the climate change emergency, most recently targeting theOpen tennis semi-final in New York.


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