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Dutch police use water cannon, detain 2,400 climate activists

Police officers stand guard as climate activists block the A12 highway in The Hague, the Netherlands, September 9, 2023. (Photo by Reuters)

Police deployed water cannon to disperse thousands of climate activists protesting on a highway in the Netherlands on Saturday to demand an end to government subsidies for the fossil fuel industry.

More than 10,000 people marched along the A12 highway into The Hague, ignoring warnings from authorities not to block the major traffic artery into the Dutch seat of government.

The police said in a statement they detained 2,400 protesters, including minors. There were no reports of injuries.

Footage shows protesters from Extinction Rebellion, Greenpeace and other organizations being sprayed by water cannon and police detaining activists.

Banners such as 'Stop Fossil Subsidies', 'Emergency action now!', 'Now or never', and 'So, you invest our money in the death of our children', were seen in the protest.

"The seas are rising and so are we," chanted the crowd, which included children and the elderly.

Extinction Rebellion, which organized the event, has said it will continue to hold protests until the government of the Netherlands stops using public funds to subsidize the oil and gas industry.

The protest came after The Center for Research on Multinational Corporations (SOMO) published a report alleging the Dutch government had spent 37.5 billion euros ($40.5 billion) annually in subsidies to the fossil fuel industry.

“People are already dying in the Global South. Floods, heat waves, droughts, and we in the Netherlands are subsidizing the fossil fuel industry with 37.5 billion euros a year. This has to stop,” said Aaron Pereira, the spokesperson for Extinction Rebellion.

"Nothing changed. The politicians didn't do anything. So there has to be, yesterday there had to be a lot of work to do. The fossil fuel subsidies must stop immediately," said Pedro, an activist from Extinction Rebellion.

“We are here because of the pollution in the world and the fact that our government is spending 37.5 billion euros a year to support the fossil industries. So, we have to cut that down. We think that's insane in these times where pollution is everywhere, to support Shell, support BP, support Tata Steel, every...” another protester said.

(Source: Reuters)

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