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More than 1,500 climate activists arrested in the Netherlands amid protests

More than 1,500 people were arrested during a protest by the Extinction Rebellion climate group in The Hague on Saturday, Dutch police said.

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Activists blocked a section of a motorway in the centre of the city during the afternoon, in protest against Dutch fossil fuel subsidies.

Police said they had used water cannon to disperse activists blocking a major road in the city, and arrested “a total of 1,579 people… 40 of whom will be prosecuted” on charges including vandalism.

One of the activists bit a policeman during his arrest, police said.

Some wore swimsuits or carried umbrellas as they sat in protest on the A12 motorway holding banners and signs.

Several Dutch celebrities were among the protesters, including actor Carice van Houten, best known for her role as Melisandre in the hit TV series “Game of Thrones”.

The Dutch news agency ANP reported that she was arrested, but later allowed to return home.

It did not specify whether she was among those who will be prosecuted.

The protest marks the seventh organised by Extinction Rebellion in this area of The Hague, but the highest number of people arrested so far, according to ANP.

Disruptive protest 

The environmental campaign group, shortened to XR, has become known for the disruptive and headline-catching stunts which have become their trademark.

In recent years the group has caused huge disruption, hitting roads, airports and other public transport networks with direct action protests against climate change.

But in January it called a temporary halt to its high-profile stunts, and instead promised to mobilise huge numbers against what it sees as government inaction against global warming.

In April it held four days of action in London, including mobilising thousands to rally outside the UK parliament.

In recent months it has also rallied at airports across Europe, including protests at Eindhoven airport in The Netherlands in March.

This week it joined other groups in demonstrating against Europe’s biggest private jet sales fair in Geneva.

Some activists chained themselves to the planes on display, and air traffic was briefly disrupted at the airport due to people on the tarmac.


This story originally appeared on France24

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