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Amsterdam hosts large climate protest as elections near

November 12, 2023

Tens of thousands of people were joined by Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg as they marched through the Dutch capital demanding lawmakers take action.

Thousands of people marched through Amsterdam, Netherlands
The largest-ever climate march in the Netherlands has taken place 10 days before the national electionsImage: Peter Dejong/AP Photo/picture alliance

Tens of thousands of people marched through Amsterdam on Sunday demanding immediate action on climate change, just 10 days before the Netherlands holds a general election.

According to the police, about 70,000 people took part in the protest. Among them were climate activist Greta Thunberg and former EU climate chief Frans Timmermans, who will lead the combined Labor and Green parties in the upcoming elections.

The mainly young participants carried placards such as "Our house is on fire" and "Cut the crap, scale emissions back!" Some were wearing scuba gear as a reference to rising sea levels.

Who organized the march?

The march was organized by environmental groups such as Extinction Rebellion, Fridays for Future, Oxfam and Greenpeace. According to the organizers, the turnout was the largest ever for a protest against climate change in the Netherlands.

In a joint statement, they pointed out the importance of the parliamentary elections on November 22. These are "the most important ever" for climate protection, they said.

Dutch voters go to the polls on November 22, but recent opinion polls show that climate change is not high on their list of priorities.

Timmermans' coalition, which has made tackling climate change a key issue, is currently polling in third place behind two conservative parties that emphasize the need to limit migration.

Rising tides - Climate change and coastal protection


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Thunberg's speech interrupted

Climate activist Greta Thunberg was briefly interrupted by a man on stage after inviting Palestinian and Afghan women to speak at a rally.

"As a climate justice movement, we have to listen to the voices of those who are being oppressed and those who are fighting for freedom and for justice. Otherwise, there can be no climate justice without international solidarity," Thunberg said.

After the Palestinian woman and the Afghan woman had spoken, and Thunberg had resumed her speech, a man came on the stage and said to her: "I have come here for a climate demonstration, not a political view," before he was ushered off the stage.

Prior to Thunberg's appearance, the event was briefly interrupted by a small group of activists at the front of the crowd waving Palestinian flags and chanting pro-Palestinian slogans.

dh/ab (AFP, AP, Reuters)