The Dutch police have detained more than 3,000 climate activists over the weekend after they blocked a major highway leading to The Hague for two consecutive days. The protesters, who belong to the Extinction Rebellion movement, were demanding an end to government subsidies for the fossil fuel industry.
According to a report by the Center for Research on Multinational Corporations, the Dutch government spends around €37.5 billion ($40.2 billion) each year to support the oil and gas sector. The activists say this is incompatible with the Paris Agreement and the goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.
The protesters chanted slogans such as “The seas are rising and so are we” and “No more excuses” as they marched on the A12 highway into The Hague, the seat of the Dutch government. They ignored the warnings from the authorities, who had given them permission to protest in other locations but not on the busy road.
The police used water cannons and dragged away individuals to clear the highway on both Saturday and Sunday. They said they arrested around 2,400 people on Saturday and another 500 people on Sunday. Some of the detainees were released after paying a fine, while others were taken to police stations for further questioning.
Extinction Rebellion said it would continue its protests until the government meets its demand to stop all subsidies for fossil fuels. The group said it would try to block the highway on a daily basis until then.
The group has staged similar protests in other countries, such as Germany, France, and the UK, to draw attention to the climate crisis and urge governments to take urgent action.