Netherlands: Hundreds of climate activists block the way

THE HAGUE, Netherlands –

Hundreds of climate activists blocked one of the main roads into The Hague on Saturday, despite their efforts to stop the demonstration, which has raised concerns about restrictions on the right to protest in the country. Netherlands.

Protesters, many waving colored flags emblazoned with the emblem of the environmental group Extinction Rebellion and one holding a sign that reads in Dutch: “This is a dead end road”, gathered on the A12 near the temporary building of the government. Dutch parliament. Police and hundreds of other protesters watched.

About an hour after the blockade began, officers began arresting protesters who refused to leave the street.

Earlier this week, six Extinction Rebellion activists were detained by authorities on suspicion of sedition in connection with calls to organize protests. A judge on Friday upheld an order banning another activist from the area for 90 days.

The arrest and exclusion order has sparked unrest among activists, who say it violates their right to peaceful protest.

Anne Kervers, a spokeswoman for Extinction Rebellion, said the large number of participants “shows what society thinks about fossil fuel subsidies and about the threat and criminalization of nonviolent climate activism.”

Prosecutors defended their actions, saying the suspects were calling on supporters to participate in a “dangerous and disruptive blockade” of the road.

“Calling for offense – such as blocking a public road – is tantamount to mutiny,” prosecutors said in a statement.

They say the blockade of the busy road leading into The Hague is a danger to motorists and protesters.

“Protest is a fundamental right and is facilitated by the city of The Hague,” prosecutors said. “There are hundreds of protests in The Hague every year that go smoothly. But demonstrations are not a license to commit a criminal offence.”

However, Extinction Rebellion activists vowed to continue their protests, in which they demanded that the government end tax breaks on fossil fuel-related companies.

“It is essential that citizens can protest against this in one important place. For Extinction Rebellion, this includes the A12, between the House of Commons and the Department of Economy and Climate,” the group said. know in a statement. “For example, any nuisance to traffic would have to be accepted.”

Other activists joined the rally for solidarity.

“We are very concerned that the right to protest is increasingly being restricted in the Netherlands. We firmly support peaceful activists exercising their right to protest,” said Andy Palmen of Greenpeace Ha Ha. Lan said in a statement ahead of the rally.

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