Dutch police arrest climate protesters at Schiphol

The Hague (AFP) –


Dutch border police Saturday detained several climate protesters at Amsterdam's Schiphol airport during a demonstration 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 to 150 climate activists gathered with placards and posters to shout slogans, live television images showed.

One protester chained himself to a pillar during the unauthorised demonstration inside the busy hall that leads to the arrivals and departures section of the airport.

The demonstrators were watched by more than two dozen law officers who from time-to-time arrested protesters who were then carried outside to a waiting police van.

Protesters were also gathering outside for a legal protest under the eye of Dutch police, some on horseback, Amsterdam's AT5 television news showed.

Protesters waved banners saying "Tax the plane, take the train" and "Shrink aviation" while 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 aimed a 24-hour protest at the air hub.

Greenpeace ahead of the protest 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 71 million 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 3.7 percent increase from the year before at Schiphol, which has flights to and from 326 destinations around the world.