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Hundreds of climate activists gather in The Hague, block the A12

Hundreds of demonstators took part in the blockade. Photo: Marco de Swart ANP

Hundreds of climate activists blocked the A12 motorway in The Hague in both directions on Saturday afternoon in protest at government subsidies for fossil fuels such as oil and gas.

Around 1,000 others had gathered above the underpass to support the blockade on the highway which runs through the city, close to government ministries.

Campaign group Extinction Rebellion had called on activists to come to the Hague last week, seven of whom were then arrested and charged with incitement.

One banner carried by the demonstrators claimed that ‘€17.5 billion euros of taxpayers money is going to fossil fuels’. Another said ‘this is a dead end street’.

Mooie relaxte sfeer bij @NLRebellion #demonstratie #A12

— Peterpaul Kloosterman (@PeterpaulK) January 28, 2023

‘I am prepared to be arrested,’ one law student told broadcaster NOS. ‘We are not doing this without a reason. Something has to happen now. And we will stay here until the police remove us.’

📢 We steunen vandaag in Den Haag de dappere mensen van @NLRebellion die de A12 blokkeren.

✋Zij eisen: #StopFossieleSubsidies, net als wij en 300 economen.

— Fossielvrij NL🔥 (@FossielvrijNL) January 28, 2023

The police did move in to start removing demonstrators at around 12.45, after first calling on the activists to clear the area or face arrest. By 2pm, dozens of people had been arrested and placed in buses.

The demonstrators are also angry about the arrests earlier this week, which they say is in stark contrast to the way protesting farmers, who also blocked the A12, were treated.

One of the seven who was arrested and banned from taking part, turned up on Saturday anyway. ‘The message is too important not to show up,’ Lucas Winnips told NOS.

The Volkskrant reported later that Winnips was arrested.

Representatives from dozens of other campaign groups took part in the above ground demonstration, saying they were there to protest at the way the right to demonstrate is being restricted in the Netherlands.