Thousands of farmers protested in The Hague on Saturday against the Dutch government’s plans to cut nitrate emissions, while environmental activists demonstrated against what they label state support for fossil fuels.
The demonstrations were held ahead of provincial elections set for Wednesday. They come after protests earlier this month in neighboring Belgium, where Flemish farmers blockaded central Brussels with 2,700 tractors over a regional plan to limit emissions.
Police in The Hague said they stopped an unknown number of tractors that were headed for the farmers’ demonstration Saturday, the Associated Press reported. The city banned all but two “symbolic” tractors from participating, citing safety concerns, according to the report.
More than 10,000 farmers participated in the protest, many carrying the upside-down Dutch flags that have become synonymous with farmers’ protests, Reuters reported.
Some climate activists broke through police lines and blocked a major road into the city for hours, the AP reported. Late Saturday afternoon, police turned a water cannon on protesters who refused to leave the road, the agency said.
Similar demonstrations were staged last summer in the Netherlands after the government approved an agreement aimed at cutting nitrogen emissions by up to 70 percent in some regions. The plan will primarily affect the agricultural sector, which is the main emitter of ammonia and nitrogen.