"Schokkend Groningen" leader arrested

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"Schokkend Groningen" leader, John Lanting, was arrested during a protest on a NAM site in 't Zandt, Sunday. Lanting had gained access to NAM property by cutting through a wire fence, announced the police.

Police had closed down the site to keep protesters away from the gas installations. The protest leader placed a sign by the NAM installation and wanted to leave on a bike.

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The police, also on bikes, chased him down and took him in custody, because he 'climbed on equipment, while making phone calls with his cell phone,' which is dangerous in the proximity of gas installations, according to police.

Several dozen people tried to prevent the police bus from leaving with Lanting by blocking the road with their cars, but after threatening to have the cars impounded, the bus was finally able to leave an hour later. The protesters were not aggressive, according to police.

The protesters then moved to Leermens, to another NAM site, and promised they would only leave when Lanting is released.

"Schokkend Groningen," established last year by angry and worried locals from the quake area around Loppersum, campaigns against gas drilling by the NAM and the position the government, especially Minister Henk Kamp, takes in the matter. Not enough is done to compensate for the damages by earthquakes and the feelings of not being safe among many Groningen residents.

The group in Leermens started out about 50 men strong, but dwindled down to about 20 around 19:00. Two police officers were keeping a watchful eye, but kept their distance. Later that night Lanting was released and the protesters went home, as promised. Several groups already announced more actions.