Netherlands | Greta Thunberg arrested twice during a demonstration

(The Hague) Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg was arrested twice on Saturday in The Hague, while she took part in a demonstration by the environmental group Extinction Rebellion against fossil fuel subsidies.

Greta Thunberg was released after her second arrest, said Rozermarijn van’t Einde, spokesperson for Extinction Rebellion (XR).

In total, more than 400 demonstrators were arrested, according to the police.

Greta Thunberg joined several hundred demonstrators, who left from downtown The Hague towards a field near the A12 motorway, linking The Hague to Utrecht, Amsterdam and Rotterdam.

This highway, one of the city’s main arteries, has already been the scene of several XR actions. The activists blocked traffic on several occasions before being dislodged by water cannons.


Greta Thunberg during her arrest.

On Saturday, however, dozens of police officers blocked protesters from accessing the motorway, warning that “violence could be used” if activists tried to reach the A12.

Carrying flags marked with the XR symbol and signs reading: “Stop fuel subsidies now!” » and “The planet is dying!” “, the demonstrators were then blocked in a tense face-to-face with the police.

Some demonstrators, including Greta Thunberg, found another route and managed to block a road near the A12 by sitting on the road.

The 21-year-old activist was arrested with other demonstrators.


Greta Thunberg among the demonstrators

Reached by telephone, she told the Dutch news agency ANP that her arrest had taken place “peacefully”.

A spokesperson for the public prosecutor’s office confirmed that demonstrators had been briefly arrested before being released in another location.

Shortly after, Greta Thunberg and other activists returned to the scene of the demonstration and were arrested again, this time for blocking traffic at an intersection.

No charges have yet been brought against the demonstrators, Vincent Veenman, spokesperson for the prosecutor, told AFP.

“The crisis is here”

Greta Thunberg, who gained worldwide notoriety with her “school climate strikes” that began at the age of 15 in Sweden, regularly takes part in this type of demonstration.

In October, it received a fine for blocking the port of Malmö in Sweden.

“It’s important to demonstrate today because we are living in a state of global emergency,” she told AFP on Saturday before her arrest.

“We must do everything to avoid the crisis and save human lives,” she said.

The protest was part of Extinction Rebellion’s actions to pressure the government ahead of a planned debate on fossil fuel subsidies in June, the organization said.

Although benefiting from majority support in Parliament and broad approval among public opinion, the plans to reduce subsidies for fossil fuels “will not be put in place before 2030 or even 2035”, regrets Extinction Rebellion.

“The outgoing government acts as if we have all the time in the world, even though the crisis is here,” the group wrote in a message posted on the social network X.

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