Netherlands arrests more than 1,500 climate activists

Climate activists blocked parts of a motorway in The Hague to protest against Dutch fossil fuel subsidies.

A protestor held a sign as Extinction Rebellion activists and sympathisers blocked a busy road in The Hague
Protesters have been calling for a halt to new fossil fuel licensing [File: Peter Dejong/AP]

More than 1,500 people have been arrested during a demonstration by the Extinction Rebellion climate group in The Hague, Dutch police said.

Activists blocked a section of a motorway in the centre of the city on Saturday, 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.

Several Dutch celebrities were among the protesters, including 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 if she was among those who would be prosecuted.

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

The environmental campaign group has in recent years garnered media attention through disruption, hitting roads, airports and other public transport networks with direct action protests against climate change.

Last month, it began four days of action in London, promising less disruption and more inclusion than the mass blockades that have become its trademark.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies