Friday, 24 May, 2024


Greta Thunberg arrested at Hague climate protest

International Desk |
Update: 2024-04-07 10:19:09
Greta Thunberg arrested at Hague climate protest photo collected

Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg has been arrested by Dutch police at a protest in The Hague.

The 21-year-old joined hundreds of protesters in a march against fossil fuel subsidies on Saturday.

The protest devolved into a standoff as dozens of police officers, some on horseback, attempted to stop protesters from blocking a main road.

Local police put Ms Thunberg on a bus full of demonstrators and she was driven away from the scene.

Protesters had planned to block The Hague's A12 highway for what Extinction Rebellion (XR) organisers say was the 37th time. The road has been subject to regular blockades since 2022.

The demonstration was called to denounce the Dutch government's tax concessions for companies connected to the fossil fuel industry, including the energy firm, Shell, and the airline, KLM.

Activists hoped to pile pressure on the government ahead of a planned debate about fossil fuel subsidies in June.

Extinction Rebellion organisers say this is the 37th time they have protested on the A12 highway
Flanked by fellow activists, Ms Thunberg marched towards the designated protest spot behind a banner with the words, STOP FOSSIL SUBSIDIES.

The world's most recognizable climate activist tried to blend in with the crowd, but her star-power meant this demonstration attracted more attention than previous XR blockades of the A12 highway.

A brass band played and the protesters sang traditional Dutch songs given a modern climate-conscious twist.

Some newspapers had claimed local residents were annoyed the climate protest was taking place on the hottest day of the year so far, potentially making it harder for people to reach the beach in The Hague.

A group of activists then marched from the city centre to a field next to the highway, where a wall of local police officers was waiting for them.

A few demonstrators broke through police lines but were quickly picked up and handcuffed.

"It's important to demonstrate today because we are living in a state of planetary emergency," Ms Thunberg told AFP news agency.

"We must do everything to avoid that crisis and to save human lives."

Asked whether she was concerned about police action, she said: "Why should I be?"

Ms Thunberg was among a small group of climate activists who broke away and managed to reach the road. More than a hundred of them were placed in police-commandeered minibuses.

The Swedish activist described her arrest as 'peaceful'. She sat at the back and chatted before being driven away.

At previous protests in The Hague, police have driven detainees away from a protest's epicentre and released them without further consequences.

Those, including Ms Thunberg, who managed to separate from the colourful crowd and sit down cross-legged on the A12 highway, were first asked by police if they wanted to cooperate by boarding the buses. Those who refused were hoisted up by arms and rucksacks and deposited in the vehicles. 

Later on Saturday, reports emerged that Ms Thunberg had returned to the protest and been arrested for a second time.

Police told the BBC some people who were arrested and released were then arrested again. They did not confirm if Ms Thunberg was among them.

As of about 14:00 local time (12:00 GMT), traffic was still flowing on the A12, according to the Netherlands' Algemeen Dagblad newspaper.

The Hague's local police told the BBC: "While we can't comment on individual cases, we can confirm that all of the people who were picked up by police and put on to minibuses were officially arrested, because they were blocking the highway and that is against the law."

Ms Thunberg has been a leading climate campaigner since she was 15 years old.

In February, she and four co-defendants were found not guilty of breaking the law when they refused to follow police instructions during a climate demonstration in London.

Source: BBC

BDST: 1018 HRS, APR 07, 2024

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