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Climate activist Greta Thunberg arrested in the Netherlands

April 6, 2024

Dutch authorities have detained Greta Thunberg and other climate protesters from the Extinction Rebellion group after they blocked a motorway in The Hague on Saturday.

Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg being detained by police in The Hague on April 6, 2024
Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg was detained, released, then detained again after rejoining Saturday's protest against fossil fuel subsidiesImage: Ramon van Flymen/ANP/picture alliance

Dutch authorities detained prominent Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg twice on Saturday, when she joined Extinction Rebellion demonstrators to occupy a motorway in The Hague, Netherlands.

Thunberg was initially detained and held for a short time by local police, then was detained a second time after she quickly rejoined a small group of protesters blocking a road leading to the city's main railway station after she was released.

At that point, she and others were taken away in a police van.

Climate activists face off against police

A spokesperson for the group Extinction Rebellion said Thunberg had been held for several hours before being released in the evening.

Thunberg had joined members of Extinction Rebellion to protest Dutch fossil fuel subsidies. 

Dozens of police officers, including several on horseback, were seen blocking protesters from getting onto the A12 motorway leading to the national parliament in The Hague.

Greta Thunberg, along with other climate protesters, called for supporters to demand an end to fossil fuel
Extinction Rebellion stage a protest to demand an end to fossil fuel Image: Ramon Van Flymen/dpa/ANP/picture alliance

Activists from the group have blocked the highway more than 30 times previously to protest the subsidies.  

Police later announced on X, formerly Twitter, that they had arrested more than 400 people throughout the course of the day for ignoring orders to disperse.

Protests against fossil fuel subsidies

The demonstrators waved and chanted: "We are unstoppable, another world is possible."

"It's important to demonstrate today because we are living in a state of planetary emergency," Thunberg told AFP news agency. "We must do everything to avoid that crisis and to save human lives," she added. 

Asked whether she was worried about being arrested, Thunberg said: "Why should I be?" 

Extinction Rebellion has said it will continue to hold protests until the Dutch government stops using public funds to subsidize the oil and gas industry. 

"Meanwhile the ecological crisis continues to rage and the country's outgoing cabinet pretends that we have all the time in the world, while the crisis is now," Extinction Rebellion said in a statement posted on X.

The protest was part of a plan to apply pressure on the Dutch government ahead of a planned debate about fossil fuel subsidies in June.

Are we running out of oil?

Thunberg inspires global youth movement to fight climate change

In February, Thunberg, who is 21 years old, was cleared of a public order offense by a London court over a protest at an oil and gas conference in October.

In January, she was detained with other activists during protests against the demolition of the German coal village of Lützerath. Thunberg shot to fame in 2018 when she began staging weekly protests outside the Swedish parliament.

She has repeatedly been fined in Sweden and the UK for civil disobedience in connection with protests.

js,rm/ab (Reuters, AFP)