200 people arrested at Extinction Rebellion protest, A12 is empty again
The police arrested 200 people at the demonstration of the climate action group Extinction Rebellion on the A12 highway in The Hague for blocking the Utrechtseban, the police reported on Saturday. The A12 is now open, but not yet cleared. Firefighters are working to bring down an activist who had climbed a post on the side of the road. The activists were warned in advance by the police and mayor Jan van Zanen not to do so, but did not comply.
The first climate activists were picked up by the police, dragged away, and put in a van. Also, activist Lucas Winnips went to blockade the A12 highway despite the area ban and was arrested by the police. Hundreds of activists have been blocking the road since 12 p.m. despite warnings from police.
De politie arresteert deelnemers aan het klimaatprotest op de A12 in Den Haag, zien onze verslaggevers. Ook Lucas Winnips is gearresteerd https://t.co/5vPFAuzN5O pic.twitter.com/qLpDHKVKBJ— de Volkskrant (@volkskrant) January 28, 2023
On Twitter, the police warned that activists on the road will be arrested if they do not leave. "Are you on the Utrechtsebaan #A12 in #TheHaag? The mayor does not allow demonstrations there. So get out of there. If you don't, you will be arrested."
Ben je op de Utrechtsebaan #A12 in #DenHaag? De burgemeester staat niet toe dat daar wordt gedemonstreerd. Ga daar dus weg. Doe je dat niet, dan word je aangehouden.— Politie Eenheid Den Haag (@POL_DenHaag) January 28, 2023
On the side of the road and above the tunnel, there are many spectators cheering people on the road. They carry banners and signs that say things like "We stand for the right to protest," "Do something better with all that money," and "Arrest the real climate polluters." A group of people attached themselves to each other through a special construction and are squatting on the road.
In recent days, seven Extinction Rebellion supporters were arrested for announcing a protest against the government's handling of fossil fuel subsidies. They had called on others to join the Utrechtsebaan blockade. According to the Public Prosecution Service, they were thus guilty of incitement of the people. They have since been released, but are not allowed on the Utrechtsebaan for the time being.
One of them is actor Sieger Sloot, who planned to come despite the area ban. In the end, he did not go to the A12 for the Extinction Rebellion action, but moved to the Malieveld, Sloot wrote on Instagram.
Meer dan 1000 mensen op de #A12 en @Siegersloot op het Malieveld. De Officier van Justitie ontnam hem zijn #demonstratierecht dmv een gebiedsverbod. #A12 #StopFossieleSubsidies pic.twitter.com/zAyO7UtKa3— Extinction Rebellion Nederland (@NLRebellion) January 28, 2023
Singer Merol, writer Maartje Wortel and actress Georgina Verbaan are also present at the protest in The Hague.
According to the climate activist group, talks with the municipality, the police as well as the OM are said to have led to nothing to facilitate a peaceful demonstration. “We are fully entitled to demonstrate in a location and manner of our choice. We do this peacefully and are committed to the safety of our demonstrators and road users. We hear from the media that the police are planning to refer people to the Malieveld, although our demonstration is not taking place there. We are disappointed that the police are trying to frustrate our demonstration in such a cynical way,” spokesperson Anne Kervers said in the group’s press release.
Reporting by ANP and NL Times