After blocking a major highway in The Hague during an Extinction Rebellion rally , police in the Netherlands detained more than 1,500 climate demonstrators. Extinction Rebellion-organized demonstrators marched onto the A12 motorway to protest the use of fossil fuel subsidies. Police used water cannon to try to break up the gathering, but many had swimsuits and raincoats on.
Authorities released most of the arrested Extinction Rebellion rally protesters, but police announced that they would prosecute 40 individuals. Among those at Saturday’s protest were several Dutch celebrities, including actress Carice van Houten, known for playing Melisandre in TV series Game of Thrones. Dutch news agency ANP reported that authorities arrested her but later granted her permission to return home.
Extinction Rebellion accused police of using water cannon just 15 minutes after the start of the blockade – but police said they had asked the activists to leave and gave them a chance to do so before using the water cannon. The 1,579 people who refused to leave were then arrested.
According to a local news site, people lifted and carried many of them onto buses. The Dutch prosecution service stated that they would not prosecute most of them because they deemed it a “minor offense,” and their primary objective in making the arrests was to end the blockade.
Police stated that they would prosecute forty individuals for other criminal offenses, which include vandalism and resisting arrest resulting in injury. These individuals face charges as law enforcement arrested them for committing such offenses.
Authorities made the arrests in just a few hours, and they cleared the road by early evening on Saturday. Extinction Rebellion said at least 6,000 people demonstrated on the A12 or next to it – including the “A12 orchestra” of more than 80 musicians. It is the seventh time Extinction Rebellion protesters have blocked the A12. The mayor implemented rules that banned protesting on this road.