Extinction Rebellion expects over 10,000 protesters for first day of permanent A12 blockade
Seven activists convicted of ‘sedition’ also in blockade: “Up to 37.5 billion euros in fossil subsidies per year: this has to stop!”
From Saturday 9 September at 12:00, Extinction Rebellion will block the A12 between the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate, and the temporary parliament building, until the government complies with its demand: an immediate stop to all fossil subsidies. Over 10,000 people are expected at the start of this permanent A12 blockade, many of whom are willing to stay put for as long as necessary. If they are removed by the police, they will return the next day and every day after – always at 12:00.
Iris Keizer, a climate scientist, will be in the blockade the A12 outside the Dutch parliament on Saturday 9 September: “For decades, scientists have warned about the disruptive consequences of climate change. Our government is not taking these warnings seriously. As a young climate scientist, this is difficult for me. What is the point of doing research if so little is done with the knowledge we have? The fossil industry spends millions to sow doubt and delay climate policy. Yet the government subsidises this industry with billions. Dutch climate policy is failing. This is not just my opinion: the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency and the Scientific Climate Council also affirm this. I will be in the blockade because I know things can be different. Ending all fossil subsidies now is a necessary first step.”
A12 march and support demonstration
Hundreds of protesters have already joined the “A12 march” ahead of the blockade. The march started on Sunday 3 September at train stations Alkmaar, Almere Oostvaarders and Arnhem. The demonstrators will walk one stage each day, arriving at the A12 in the Hague on Saturday 9 September at noon. More information on the A12 march: https://a12mars.nl/
The support demo on 9 and 10 September is organised by Greenpeace, Milieudefensie (Friends of the Earth Netherlands), Fossielvrij NL, Urgenda, and others. Thousands of people are expected to come to encourage the activists on the A12, and to back Extinction Rebellion’s demand: Stop fossil subsidies. The support demo will have its own programme with well-known faces such as Tim Hofman, Clarice Gargard, Aisha Dutrieux and Jeroen Siebelink, musicians such as Hang Youth, Merol, Sophie Straat and LAKSHMI, and top scientists such as Joyeeta Gupta and Kees Klomp. More information on the support demo: https://a12support.nl/
Fossil subsidies: a global problem
A recent IMF report reveals how fossil subsidies are a problem worldwide. $7 trillion in subsidies go towards the fossil industry every year – $13 million per minute. This is 7.1% of global Gross Domestic Product (GDP). For comparison, education receives 4.3% of global GDP.
Meanwhile, not only citizens see that this must stop, the industry is also calling for action. For example, in its feedback on the EU 2040 climate target, Unilever states, “The EU 2040 target should be accompanied by a phase-out of fossil fuel subsidies and financing by 2025, to ensure consistency between climate targets and financing instruments.” 
Spokesman Aaron Pereira: “Fossil subsidies are a global problem with a huge impact on global heating and climate justice. Even in Europe we are now suffering from climate chaos – think floods and heat waves – but in the Global South the consequences are already much more deadly. Countries burdened by massive debt as a result of colonial oppression do not have the means to defend themselves against climate disasters. It is absurd that we support the fossil industry with annual subsidies of up to €37.5 billion. This must stop now.”
2023: Climate catastrophe like never before
July was globally the hottest month ever recorded. Since then, not a week goes by without one or more climate disasters. Heat waves, forest fires and floods – and this is just the tip of the iceberg, say leading climate scientists. Within a decade, summers like this will be the norm, and above a certain level of global heating, “tipping points” are reached, after which the damage is irreversible.
Extreme weather and climate disasters are affecting more and more people, causing them to lose their livelihoods, their land, and even their lives. Yet even now, the tide can turn: if governments intervene with strong, effective climate policy. An immediate end to all fossil subsidies is a first logical step.
Seven convicted protesters continue campaigning
On Wednesday 2 August, the judge in The Hague sentenced seven of the eight protesters on trial for calling for peaceful demonstrations on the A12 road outside the Dutch parliament. The seven were given community service sentences of 30-60 hours for ‘sedition’. An eighth protester was acquitted at the request of the prosecution. The seven protesters convicted are appealing. They also continue to call for peaceful demonstrations on the A12 and will join the blockade.
Lawyer Willem Jebbink, representing the protesters: “A road blockade falls under the freedom to demonstrate, this is internationally recognised. Demonstrations in the Netherlands may only be restricted by the mayor. The court today ruled that the public prosecutor may intervene with measures from criminal law. This is not what was agreed upon in our constitutional democracy. Courts ought to be expected to protect the freedom to demonstrate against such intervention. Therefore, this is a disturbing ruling. I do not think it will hold up on appeal.”