Right-wing parties critical of climate protest, response at Eindhoven Airport
Several right-wing parliamentarians are critical of Extinction Rebellion’s protest at Eindhoven Airport on Saturday and the authorities’ response thereto. The climate activists were given hours of space to protest at the airport, while that is forbidden territory, CDA, VVD, and JA21 MPs told the Telegraaf.
“We really want to get rid of the idea that you can break laws if you fight for the earth,” VVD parliamentarian Ingrid Michon said. She will ask the Cabinet parliamentary questions about it. CDA MP Anne Kuik said she wants the judiciary to use quick justice for these kinds of demonstrations.
Unlike Schiphol Airport, Eindhoven Air Base is partially military terrain. “We made it very clear that it is a military airport and entering is absolutely forbidden. We took into account in all our scenarios that they would do so anyway. But it involves about 15 kilometers of fencing, which you can’t completely secure. Then we would have had to stand around it hand-in-hand,” a spokesperson for the Koninklijke Marechaussee (KMar), a policing force that works as part of the Dutch military and is responsible for airport security, told the Telegraaf.
During these kinds of protests, the focus is on de-escalation, the KMar spokesperson said. “What is the point of pushing those people back by force if you can’t control the situation afterward? The place where they were is off-limits. But air traffic could continue. So there were all kinds of reasons to allow them temporarily.”
The authorities opted for a live-and-let-live situation on the aircraft platform where private jets usually take off. The Marechaussee announced how many minutes were left until they started arresting people. Activists who wanted to could leave; the others were arrested and taken away by a waiting coach.
CDA MP Anne Kuik thinks the Public Prosecution Service (OM) should consider using a bit more force during these kinds of protests. “Has quick justice been considered?” she asked.
VVD MP Ingrid Michon thinks the Netherlands is too lenient with climate activists and will ask the Cabinet to get rid of the idea “that you can break laws if you fight for the earth.”
JA21 parliamentarian Joost Eerdmans understands that the Marechaussee and other authorities don’t want to escalate matters. “But having fences cut to ‘prevent worse’ is not the way to go,” he told the Telegraaf. “No criminal offenses should be allowed in any demonstrations.”