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Climate protesters block Dutch highway to demand end to big subsidies for fossil fuels

THE HAGUE, NETHERLANDS (AP) – Several thousand climate activists blocked a Dutch highway yesterday in anger at billions of euros in government subsidies for industries that use oil, coal and gas revealed in a report earlier this week.

The protesters – from Extinction Rebellion, Greenpeace and other organisations – broke through a police barrier and sat on a main road in The Hague heading to the temporary venue for the Lower House of Parliament.

They threatened to stay until the subsidies are lifted, and to come back every day if the police remove them.

The activists 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.

The action is part of a series of protests led by Extinction Rebellion targeting the Dutch Parliament.

Protestors display banners reading ‘Stop Fossil Subsidies’ as they gather with the intent to block a highway during a climate protest of Extinction Rebellion and other activists near the Dutch Parliament in The Hague, Netherlands. PHOTO: AP

A report published on Monday said the Dutch government spends around EUR37.5 billion (USD40.5 billion) per year in subsidies to industries that use fossil fuels – notably the powerful shipping industry.

The report was published by the The Centre for Research on Multinational Corporations, known as SOMO, the Dutch arm of Friends of the Earth and Oil Change International.

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

The report calls on lawmakers to begin phasing out the subsidies even before the country’s November 22 general election.