Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg
Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg (centre) is arrested during a climate march against fossil subsidies near the highway A12 in the Hague, on April 6, 2024. Image Credit: AFP

The Hague: Climate activist Greta Thunberg was detained by Dutch police on Saturday after she and a group of marchers blocked a main road in The Hague to protest against fossil fuel subsidies.

Thunberg and other protesters of the Extinction Rebellion environmental group were seen sitting in a waiting bus, while police were continuing to make arrests, an AFP correspondent said.

Thunberg earlier joined several hundred protesters as they walked from the Dutch city centre to a field next to the A12 arterial highway leading out of the city.

The highway was the scene of previous protests by Extinction Rebellion with activists closing it off from traffic before police deployed water guns and made arrests.

But on Saturday dozens of police officers, including some on horseback, blocked the group from entering the highway, warning that "violence could be used" should the marchers try to get onto the road.

Carrying XR flags and placards saying "Stop fuel subsidies now!" and "The planet is dying!", protesters were then locked in a tense standoff with police who formed a wall of law enforcement.

Some protesters then found another route and blocked a main road close to the highway - which leads from the seaside city of The Hague to the central city of Utrecht.

Thunberg, dressed in a grey top, black trousers and blue shoes, joined the group at the start and was chanting songs with the group as they initially came to an abrupt stop.

"It's important to demonstrate today because we are living in a state of planetary emergency," Thunberg told AFP as police blocked marchers.

"We must do everything to avoid that crisis and to save human lives," she said.

At least one protester was arrested earlier and dragged away to a waiting police van, an AFP correspondent saw.

Asked whether she was concerned about police action and arrest, Thunberg said: "Why should I be?"

Activists said that despite majority backing by the Dutch parliament as well as broad popular support to slash fossil fuel subsidies, "the plans will not be implemented before 2030, or even 2035".

"Meanwhile the ecological crisis continues to rage and the country's outgoing cabinet pretends that we have all the time in the world, while the crisis is now," XR said in a statement posted on X, formerly Twitter.

The protest, added XR, was part of a plan to pressure the Dutch government ahead of another planned debate about fossil subsidies in June.