Climate protesters break through police barrier, block Dutch highway

Several thousand climate protesters broke through a police barrier and blocked a Dutch highway in a demonstration against fossil fuel subsidies enacted by the country's parliament.

Sep 9, 2023 - 17:25
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Climate protesters break through police barrier, block Dutch highway

Thousands of radical climate activists blocked a Dutch highway on Saturday to protest billions of Euros in government subsidies for the fossil fuel industry. 

The protesters broke through a police barrier and parked themselves on the main road in The Hague, preventing traffic to the temporary place where the lower house of parliament meets. Various climate groups, including Extinction Rebellion and Greenpeace, participated in the demonstration.

The activists threatened to remain there until the subsidies are repealed and said they would return every day until the legislature acts, even if police remove them.

They brandished signs with sayings like "Fossil Fuel Subsidies are Not Cool," and warned that the extreme temperatures seen around the world this summer are a sign of the future if fossil fuels aren't abandoned.

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A report published Monday said the Dutch government spends around 37.5 billion euros ($40.5 billion) per year in subsidies to industries that use fossil fuels — notably the powerful shipping industry. The report was published by the Centre for Research on Multinational Corporations, known as SOMO, the Dutch arm of Friends of the Earth and Oil Change International.

The group called on lawmakers to begin phasing out fossil fuel subsidies before the country's election on November 22. 

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Minister for Climate and Energy Rob Jetten acknowledged that the country must end the subsidies, but has offered no timeline.

Radical climate activists around the globe have disrupted traffic to protest continued use of fossil fuels by automobiles. Last month, a street protest in Munich, Germany, led to a confrontation between two protesters and an oncoming vehicle that dragged them forward after they refused to move out of its way. 

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In the Netherlands, Extinction Rebellion has led a series of protests against the Dutch parliament. The group is the same that took responsibility for a protest that disrupted the U.S. Open match between Coco Gauff and Karolina Muchova on Thursday night.

Three protesters were seen in the stands wearing shirts that read, "End Fossil Fuels," and at least one protester glued his shoes to the floor of Arthur Ashe Stadium. 

The United States Tennis Association later said that at least four were taken into custody after a 49-minute delay.

Extinction Rebellion took responsibility for the demonstration. The group’s New York chapter released a statement saying there is "no tennis on a dead planet."

"Today’s action highlights the neglect of the climate and ecological breakdown by governments and corporations," the group said. "The group emphasizes that the present socio-economic system can't protect people from the crises to come, because its very structure creates these crises and then ignores them.

Fox News' Ryan Gaydos contributed to this report.

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