Dutch police arrested more than 1,500 climate activists on Saturday after they blocked a major motorway in The Hague to demand an end to fossil fuel subsidies.
The activists, belonging to the Extinction Rebellion group, walked onto the A12 highway near the parliament and main ministry buildings around noon and sat down on the road, holding banners and signs.
Police said they used water cannon to disperse the protesters after giving them several warnings to leave. They then arrested 1,579 people who refused to move and put them on buses.
Most of the arrested protesters were released without charges, but 40 of them will be prosecuted for offenses such as vandalism, resisting arrest and injuring a police officer.
Among the protesters were several Dutch celebrities, including actress Carice van Houten, known for her role in Game of Thrones. She posted a video on Instagram showing herself getting soaked by a water cannon. She was later allowed to go home but did not say whether she would face charges.
Extinction Rebellion said it had staged the protest to urge the Dutch government to stop subsidizing fossil fuels and invest in renewable energy instead.
The group said it had chosen the A12 highway because it was a symbol of the country’s dependence on cars and oil. It also said it had brought an orchestra of more than 80 musicians to play music during the blockade.
This was the seventh time that Extinction Rebellion had blocked the A12 highway in The Hague. The mayor had banned protests on the road but the group defied the ban.
Extinction Rebellion is a global movement that uses non-violent civil disobedience to draw attention to the climate crisis. It has staged similar protests in other countries, such as Germany, France and Britain.