Around 300 climate activists took to the streets of Amsterdam, blocking a major highway for several hours in a protest organized by Extinction Rebellion. The activists aimed to pressure ING, the largest bank in the Netherlands, to halt its financing of fossil fuel projects. The demonstration unfolded at the former headquarters of ING, emphasizing the bank’s role in supporting fossil fuel initiatives.

The protest commenced at noon and saw activists peacefully occupying the A10 highway south of the city. Images broadcast by local TV station AT5 showed a diverse group, including children and elderly individuals, waving banners and flags. Road authorities had closed the highway in advance to prevent casualties.

ING had recently announced plans to cease financing oil and gas exploration by 2040 and triple lending to renewable energy within the next two years. Despite this, the activists, organized under Extinction Rebellion, deemed these commitments insufficient. They demanded an immediate cessation of all fossil fuel projects, labeling ING’s response as “radical and unrealistic.”

Police began dispersing protesters approximately three hours into the demonstration, detaining 300 activists who were later released in another part of town. The city council had initially banned the A10 protest, assigning a nearby field for the demonstration. However, activists defied the ban and climbed onto the highway barrier.

Sebastiaan Vannisselroy, speaking on behalf of the activists, highlighted the urgency of their cause, stating, “The Netherlands is a low-lying country. We’re threatened by ocean rise. So we want to … safeguard the future for all of us.”

Amsterdam Municipality, citing concerns for public safety, closed part of the road and diverted traffic to prevent potential hazards. The protest occurred despite ING’s recent announcement to accelerate the phase-out of loans for fossil fuel exploration.

Extinction Rebellion spokesperson Let de Jong asserted, “We demand that ING immediately stops all fossil fuel financing. Every day, people are dying around the world because of the climate and ecological crisis. That has to stop.”

The demonstration reflects a growing trend of public demands for immediate climate action, with activists urging financial institutions to align their practices with environmental sustainability. As the world grapples with the consequences of climate change, such events underscore the increasing pressure on institutions to prioritize sustainability and address the urgent need for environmental responsibility.