A major demonstration organized by Extinction Rebellion in the Netherlands resulted in the arrest of approximately 1,500 participants. The protest took place on the A12 highway, with activists demanding an immediate cessation of fossil fuel subsidies.
In an attempt to disperse the crowds, law enforcement authorities deployed water cannons. However, many protesters had come prepared, wearing raincoats and swimsuits to withstand the water. While the majority of those arrested were later released, police confirmed that 40 individuals would face prosecution for various offenses.
Among the participants of Saturday’s demonstration were several prominent Dutch celebrities, including Carice van Houten, renowned for her portrayal of Melisandre in the popular TV series Game of Thrones. Van Houten was detained during the protest but was eventually allowed to return home, according to Dutch news agency ANP.
Extinction Rebellion accused the police of employing water cannons a mere 15 minutes after the blockade commenced. However, law enforcement authorities asserted that they had first requested the activists to disperse and provided them with an opportunity to comply before resorting to water cannons.
Ultimately, 1,579 individuals who refused to vacate the area were arrested. Reports from local news site De Telegraaf stated that many of the arrestees were lifted and transported onto buses by police officers.
The Dutch prosecution service indicated that the majority of those arrested would not face charges, as the primary objective of the arrests was to bring an end to the blockade. Instead, the focus of prosecution will be on 40 individuals involved in additional criminal offenses such as vandalism and resisting arrest resulting in injury.
The arrests were carried out over a span of a few hours, and the road was cleared by early evening on Saturday.
Extinction Rebellion estimated that approximately 6,000 individuals participated in the demonstration either on or near the A12, with the presence of an “A12 orchestra” composed of over 80 musicians.
This marks the seventh occasion on which Extinction Rebellion has staged protests on the A12 highway, despite it being prohibited by regulations implemented by the mayor.