AFP /The Hague
Dutch border police detained dozens of climate protesters at Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport during a demonstration yesterday aimed at forcing the busy international air hub to adopt a plan to curb greenhouse emissions.
Gendarmes started removing protesters inside the busy Schiphol Plaza where a group of between 100 and 150 climate activists had gathered with placards and shouting slogans, live television images showed.
One protester chained himself to a pillar during the unauthorised rally inside the shopping mall that leads to the arrivals and departures section of the airport.
More than two dozen police officers had watched the demonstrators before arresting them and leading them outside to a waiting bus among clapping and cheers.
Dutch border police said in a tweet that the protesters were “being relocated”.
Dutch media reported the group was being dropped off outside the Haarlemmermeer municipal boundary where Schiphol is located.
“The first bus with protesters has left,” said the Royal Dutch Marechaussee, the paramilitary police responsible for airport and border safety.
Demonstrators were also gathering outside Schiphol airport for a legal protest under the eye of Dutch police, some on horseback, Amsterdam’s AT5 television news showed.
Protesters waved banners reading “Tax the plane, take the train” and “Shrink aviation”.
Activists from Greenpeace, which organised the demonstration, told the crowd: “Schiphol is one the biggest airports in Europe and yet they still want to expand it. That’s not normal!”
“Schiphol must come with a climate plan,” one of the Greenpeace organisers said, adding that activists planned to stage a 24-hour protest at the air hub.
Ahead of the protest, Greenpeace said it wanted to force airport authorities to adopt urgent measures to reduce CO2 emissions in the aviation industry.
This included reducing flights, scrapping short-distance flights in favour of using trains and stopping the planned upgrade of an airport at nearby Lelystad to accommodate more holiday destination flights.
Schiphol spokesman Hans van Kastel said no flights were so far disrupted by the demonstration.
He told AFP that the airport – which saw 71mn passengers pass through its gates last year – already had a climate plan in place.
“This included having an emission-free airport by 2030 as well as CO2-free aviation by 2050,” Van Kastel said.
The passenger figure in 2018 was a 3% increase from the year before at Schiphol, which has flights to and from 326 destinations around the world.
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