‘Planetary emergency’: Climate activist Greta Thunberg detained twice at Dutch protest

The 21-year-old Greta Thunberg was one of 400 people arrested during a protest march against fossil fuel subsidies in The Hague.

Dutch police twice detained climate activist Greta Thunberg on Saturday, 6 April, after a group of marchers blocked a main road in The Hague to protest against fossil fuel subsidies.

Police said more than 400 people were arrested including 12 for incitement. Activists said Thunberg had been freed.

XR march: Greta Thunberg protests against fossil fuel subsidies

Thunberg, 21, joined hundreds of protesters on a walk from The Hague city centre to the A12 highway that connects the seat of the Dutch government with other cities, including Amsterdam, Rotterdam and Utrecht.

The march was organised by the Extinction Rebellion (XR) environmental group — who previously swarmed the highway and blocked traffic for hours before being sprayed by police water cannon and taken away.

On Saturday however, dozens of police, some on horseback, stopped the group from accessing the motorway, warning that “violence could be used” should the marchers try to get onto the road.

Carrying XR flags and placards saying “Stop fuel subsidies now!” and “The planet is dying!”, chanting protesters were locked in a tense standoff with police.

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Thunberg chanted slogans during the protest.

“It’s important to demonstrate today because we are living in a state of planetary emergency,” Thunberg told AFP as police blocked marchers.

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

‘Here for climate’ – Thunberg

Some activists, however, found another route and blocked a main road close to the highway where they — including Thunberg — sat down.

Asked whether she was concerned about police action and arrest, Thunberg said: “Why should I be?”

Shortly afterwards, Thunberg was arrested and dragged away by police to a waiting bus where she was detained with other activists.

She told the ANP national news agency by telephone that her arrest had proceeded “calmly”.

“It’s not about the arrest. I am here for the climate,” she said.

A Public Prosecutor’s Office spokesman later confirmed the protesters were detained and later released at a different location.

No charges laid against climate activists

Shortly after, Thunberg and some activists returned and were arrested again, this time for blocking a nearby traffic intersection, and led away to a waiting police van.

Prosecutor spokesman Vincent Veenman told AFP that no charges have been laid against the activists.

“This however may change if people are arrested over and over again for the same offence,” Veenman said.

XR spokeswoman Rozemarijn van ‘t Einde confirmed that Thunberg was released following her second arrest.

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Fossil fuel subsidies in The Netherlands

Activists said that despite majority backing by the Dutch parliament and broad popular support to slash fossil fuel subsidies, “the plans will not be implemented before 2030, or even 2035”.

The protest, XR said in a social media statement, was part of a plan to pressure the Dutch government ahead of another planned debate about fossil fuel subsidies in June.

By © Agence France-Presse

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