Hundreds of climate activists were arrested on Saturday November 5th at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport after they jumped over fences and occupied a parking area for private jets. The protesters, many wearing white jumpsuits and some on bicycles, invaded the tarmac at around 12:00 GMT, before sitting in front of at least 14 private planes.
While the airport has to reduce flights, it’s illogical that so many private jets are taking off, one demonstrator said. Private jets are using a dedicated runway. Chanting slogans such as “An end to flying” or “Schiphol environmental polluter”, the activists from the NGOs Greenpeace and Extinction Rebellion walked around the tarmac to the applause of spectators on the other side of the fences.
We are starting with the flights that we absolutely do not need, such as private jets and short flights.Faiza Oulahsen, Greenpeace Netherlands spokeswoman
Figures from research agency CE Delft commissioned by Greenpeace show that more private flights took off from Schiphol and Rotterdam in the first nine months of this year than in the whole of 2019, the last year before the corona pandemic.
According to flight data, more than a third of those flights were shorter than 500 kilometres and almost 11 percent were even shorter than 250 kilometres. Emissions per passenger on a private flight are about five times higher than on a scheduled flight.
“Today’s action means that Schiphol Airport must reduce its emissions, there must be fewer flights,” Greenpeace Netherlands spokeswoman Faiza Oulahsen commented to AFP, “We are starting with the flights that we absolutely do not need, such as private jets and short flights.”
About three hours after the tarmac invasion began, Dutch border police began arresting activists, some of whom were dragged to buses after passively resisting. “We take this very seriously. These people are in a place where they should not have been,” its spokesman, Major Robert van Kapel, told AFP.
According to Greenpeace, the police reacted too harshly to the activists riding bicycles. At least one person was hit in the head. The action came on the eve of the opening of the COP27, the UN climate summit in Egypt on Sunday. The pollution of the planes, “it is a subject of which they must speak”, said to the AFP Tessel Hofstede, spokesman of Extinction Rebellion.