Fifteen arrested at new protest against nuclear weapons at Volkel air base
Fifteen protesters were arrested Wednesday morning after trying to enter the grounds of Volkel Air Base in the province of Noord-Brabant, Omroep Brabant reported. They wanted to dig a hole under the fence there with shovels. All morning employees of the airbase and military police, among others, have been on standby to stop the protesters.
Dozens of activists have been camped near the air base since Monday, protesting against the presence of nuclear weapons and CO2 emissions from aircraft. The group previously announced it planned to enter the base using shovels to dig under the fence. On Wednesday morning, airbase staff, the Koninklijke Marechaussee, and enforcement personnel were present to prevent this.
By 11:30, the activists began their attempt but were quickly arrested after starting to dig. A spokesperson for the Koninklijke Marechaussee explained that while the protest was allowed, digging was not. "The arrests were carried out peacefully," they wrote in a post on X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter. Those arrested were taken to Uden police station.
This is the third protest at the airbase in two days. On Monday, about 60 activists from het Vredeskamp demonstrated in front of the airbase’s entrance, Omroep Brabant reported. The protest lasted a symbolic 78 minutes - Sunday was the 78th anniversary of an atomic bomb hitting the Japanese city of Hiroshima.
On Tuesday morning, the Koninklijke Marechausses arrested ten people at Volkel Airbase. They had climbed over the fence and sat down on the runway in protest against nuclear weapons and CO2 emissions. They have since been released. The prosecutor's office will later determine whether they will be prosecuted for trespassing.
The presence of nuclear weapons at the Volkel base was an open secret for many years. But it has now been leaked and confirmed multiple times. In 2013, former Dutch Prime Minister Ruud Lubbers confirmed the existence of nuclear weapons at the Volkel air base. In 2019, a NATO draft report revealed that the base is one of six locations in Europe where the U.S. Air Force is believed to store a portion of its B61 nuclear gravity bombs, NOS reported at the time.