Extinction Rebellion takes legal action against water cannon use at A12 protests
Extinction Rebellion wants to prohibit the use of water cannons during climate protests on the A12 highway through legal means. The activist group announced on Monday that it will file summary proceedings against the State. A spokesperson stated that the summons will be issued on Monday or Tuesday, after which the court date for the lawsuit will be determined.
Waterkanonnen worden geleegd op klimaatactivisten die de A12 bij Den Haag blokkeren. pic.twitter.com/gZijpQC3iM— Omroep West (@omroepwest) September 9, 2023
The group's lawyer, Willem Jebbink, described the deployment of the water cannon as "completely unnecessary and disproportionate." He pointed out that protestors are being hit with a forceful stream of water, even when there is no indication of a threatening or dangerous situation. "Water cannons are weapons and are now causing injuries. Protestors are being blasted across the road surface, sustaining bruises from the force of the stream."
Waterwerpers staan extreem hard op de #a12 vandaag, demonstranten wordt geadviseerd hun tas achter hun rug te doen om hun nieren te beschermen #extinctionrebellion @NLRebellion pic.twitter.com/WfEl2LHjIP— Kelli van der Waals (@KellivdWaals) September 23, 2023
Jebbink stated that the water cannon's pressure on Saturday was so intense that activists had to shield their kidneys by carrying bags on their backs. "The government should protect citizens who are peacefully expressing their opinions, not assault them with unnecessary force."
In the lawyer's view, the use of this tactic serves no purpose since it does not disperse the protestors. Furthermore, water cannons were only deployed on September 18, 19, and 20 after protestors had already been detained. "They were trapped between the police line and the water cannon, suggesting that these are corporal punishments."
Since September 9, Extinction Rebellion has been organizing daily protests on the A12 by blocking the highway. Their goal is to pressure the Dutch government to abandon policies supporting the fossil fuel industry. Over the past three days, more than a thousand individuals were arrested.
The water cannon was not deployed on Sunday.
Reporting by ANP and NL Times