Climate movement Extinction Rebellion (XR) wants to have the use of water cannons in climate demonstrations on the A12 immediately banned through the courts. That writes XR said in a statement on Monday. The group is therefore filing summary proceedings against the Dutch state.
“Protesters are now being sprayed with a hard jet,” says Willem Jebbink, lawyer for XR. NRC. “That beam causes hypothermia and bruises.” During a demonstration in late September, activists had to use bags to protect their kidneys, according to XR. The lawyer calls the use of the “means of force” completely unnecessary and disproportionate. “The protesters are peaceful. Moreover, the police arrest demonstrators, which makes it unnecessary to spray them first.” XR writes in the statement that water cannons are sometimes used while climate activists have already been arrested.
Amnesty International previously called the use of water cannons with a hard spray setting against demonstrators “out of the question” and “a form of deterrence”. A water cannon with a hard jet “can lead to (serious) bodily harm and should not be used against peaceful demonstrators.”
Also read: Extinction Rebellion as Martin Luther King’s heir? ‘One civil disobedient action is not the same as another’
The police started using water cannons at demonstrations on the A12 in March this year. At first they were on spray mode, but since September the police have been using water cannons with a hard jet, according to XR.
Extinction Rebellion has been blocking the A12 near The Hague every day since September 9 at noon with the aim of having the government abolish fossil subsidies. Over the past three days, the police have arrested more than a thousand demonstrators.