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Climate activists from Extinction Rebellion have blocked part of the highway around Amsterdam

AMSTERDAM –

Climate activists blocked part of the main highway around Amsterdam near the former headquarters of ING bank on Saturday to protest its financing of fossil fuels.

Amsterdam Municipality said in a message on X, formerly Twitter, that traffic authorities closed part of the road and diverted traffic “to prevent a life-threatening situation.”

Hundreds of activists walked onto the road in the latest road blockade organized by the Dutch branch of Extinction Rebellion. Earlier this year, the activist organization repeatedly blocked a highway leading into The Hague.

Some of Saturday’s protesters walked along the closed A10 highway carrying a banner emblazoned with the words “Change or die” as two police vans drove slowly behind them.

Another person carried a handwritten banner that said: “ING get out of oil and gas now!” Others glued their hands to the road surface.

Police criticized the protesters for blocking the road close to the VU medical centre, one of Amsterdam’s main hospitals.

“The blockade is very undesirable given its impact on the traffic in the city and, for example, employees at the nearby VU medical center and people visiting patients,” Amsterdam police said in a statement.

The protest took place despite ING announcing earlier this month that it is accelerating its moves to phase out loans for fossil fuel exploration.

ING made its announcement a week after nearly 200 countries at the COP28 climate meeting in Dubai agreed to move away from planet-warming fossil fuels in a document that critics said contained significant loopholes.

Extinction Rebellion spokesperson Let de Jong said the phase-out plan was not fast enough.

“We demand that ING immediately stops all fossil fuel financing,” De Jong said in a statement ahead of the protest. “Every day, people are dying around the world because of the climate and ecological crisis. That has to stop.”

At past protests, in The Hague, police used a water cannon to force activists off the road and arrested hundreds of people.

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