Hundreds of Extinction Rebellion activists block the A12 in The Hague
Hundreds of climate activists walked onto the A12 in The Hague around 12 p.m. on Saturday to form a blockade there. Extinction Rebellion activists marched onto the highway despite police warnings. Dozens of climate activists are ready with banners along the road and there is a large police presence. In addition, groups of people have also gathered on the Malieveld. But for the time being, traffic on the highway is still moving.
The climate action group Extinction Rebellion expected over a thousand people to participate in the blockade of the A12 highway in The Hague on Saturday at 12 p.m. The group is protesting there for the fifth time and said it has received more than 1,200 applications. "They will not be deterred by the arrest of seven climate activists," the group stated in a press release.
According to Extinction Rebellion’s spokesperson Anne Kervers the high participation of the demonstration is not a surprise. "The fact that so many people have signed up for today's A12 Blockade shows how society feels about fossil subsidies and about the intimidation and criminalization of non-violent climate activism. The consequences of the climate and ecological crises are hitting hard all over the world. Yet the government keeps adding fuel to the fire every day. We will keep coming back until this stops," she stated in the group’s press release.
In recent days, seven Extinction Rebellion supporters were arrested in connection with the announced protest against the government's handling of the fossil fuel industry. They had called to join the blockade of the Utrechtsebaan near the Ministry of Economic Affairs and the temporary building of the Tweede Kamer. According to the prosecutor's office (OM), they were guilty of incitement of the people. They have since been released, but are not allowed on the Utrechtsebaan for the time being, since each of them received a 90-day area ban, according to Extinction Rebellion.
However, it is not clear whether the two arrested supporters intend to comply. One of the seven climate activists, Lucas Winnips, told Op1 on Friday evening that he was considering going to the demonstration. He had already tried unsuccessfully to get the so-called conduct order taken off the table earlier on Friday.
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,” Kervers said in the group’s press release.
Angered by the arrests, leaders of about 40 civil society organizations are taking part in a show of support. The event will take place on an overpass over the A12 highway. Among others, Greenpeace, FNV, Urgenda, the Aids Fund, Cordaid, the COC, the Cyclists' Federation, the Humanist Verbond, Milieudefensie and the Stichting Vluchteling have announced their participation in this protest.
Reporting by ANP and NL Times