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Climate Activists Storm Schiphol Airport in the Netherlands

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Hundreds of climate activists in the Netherlands halted private jets from leaving Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport on Saturday. Protesters from Greenpeace and Extinction Rebellion sat around private jets.

Greenpeace Netherlands’ Dewi Zloch stated that the activists want “fewer aircraft, more trains, and a ban on unneeded short-haul flights and private jets.”

According to military police, several demonstrators were dragged away for being on airport premises without authorization.

In response to Greenpeace’s open letter, Schiphol’s new CEO, Ruud Sondag, stated that the airport aims to be an “emissions-free airport by 2030 and net climate-neutral aviation by 2050.” And we have a responsibility to lead the way in that,” he said, admitting that it needed to happen faster.

More than 120 international leaders will attend this year’s United Nations climate talks, which begin on Sunday in the Red Sea beachfront resort of Sharm el-Sheikh.

Thorny issues on the agenda for the Nov. 6-18 negotiations include further reducing greenhouse gas emissions and increasing financial aid to impoverished countries dealing with the effects of climate change.

Egypt is facing a storm of criticism as it prepares to host the COP27 climate meeting beginning Sunday, which rights groups claim is a crackdown on protestors and activists.

Climate Activists

After Egyptian dissidents abroad called for protests against President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi on November 11, during the United Nations climate conference, rights groups accused the Egyptian authorities of arbitrarily detaining activists.

Human rights organizations claim that security officers have set up checkpoints on Cairo streets, stopping people and examining their phones for anything relevant to the scheduled protests.

According to the Egyptian Commission for Rights and Freedoms (ECRF), an NGO, 93 climate activists have been imprisoned in Egypt in recent days.

According to national security prosecution investigations, several arrested allegedly sent demonstration footage using social chat applications.

Some were also accused of using social media inappropriately, distributing false information, and joining terrorist organizations, a repressive allegation regularly employed by the state establishment against climate activists.

Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, Friends of the Earth, and many other organizations have all spoken out in support of the arrested climate activists.

Climate Activists

Climate Activists have flung tomato soup, scattered potatoes, and even attached themselves to iconic paintings in recent weeks.

The climate activists stated that their activities were intended to draw attention to the use of fossil fuels and the global environmental catastrophe.

Last month, two activists spilled tomato soup on Vincent van Gogh’s Sunflowers at London’s National Gallery.

“Which is more valuable, art or life?” the two activists posed to others in the gallery. “Is it more valuable than food?” More than just justice? “Do you care more about preserving a picture or preserving our world and people?”

Two more climate activists spread potatoes on a glass-covered painting by French painter Claude Monet inside a German gallery several weeks later.

Another protester hung his head from the glass covering of a famous painting by Johannes Vermeer, Girl with a Pearl Earring, in Amsterdam’s The Hague.

A climate activist who stuck his head to Vermeer’s painting said, “How do you feel when you witness something beautiful and priceless supposedly being destroyed before your eyes?” in a viral video. “Where is that sensation when you watch the planet being destroyed?” he asked.

The protests were in response to a recent incident in which protestors threw paint at the Mona Lisa in the Louvre.

Climate Activists

Climate activists also bonded themselves to a replica of Leonardo da Vinci’s The Last Supper at London’s Royal Academy of Arts, Sandro Botticelli’s Primavera at Florence’s Uffizi Gallery, and a sculpture at the Vatican.

Alex De Koning is a spokesperson for Just Stop Oil, the organization responsible for tossing soup cans onto Van Gogh’s painting.

He stated that the organization will target paintings and artwork “unless the government makes a significant statement about the closure of new fossil fuel assets in the U.K.”

“There are still people who are far more offended about that action than the 33 million people in Pakistan who floods have uprooted,” he told Euronews.

However, University of Pennsylvania climate scientist Michael Mann expressed concern that the activists’ activities would harm their cause.

According to the Associated Press, such moves will turn off those who are “natural allies in the climate war.” Some of those people, according to Mann, “will associate such behaviours with climate advocacy and activism.”

Climate Activists

Dana Fisher is a University of Maryland social scientist. She claimed that the protestors appeared to have targeted paintings with glass covers to inflict minimal damage.

“These approaches are explicitly focused toward attracting media attention,” she told the Associated Press.

People’s attention has traditionally been drawn to attacks on artwork.

A supporter of women’s suffrage slashed The Toilet of Venus, a famous Spanish artist Diego Velazquez’s painting, in London’s National Gallery in 1914.

An Iranian artist sprayed the words “Kill Lies All” on Pablo Picasso’s anti-war masterpiece Guernica at the Museum of Modern Art in New York during the Vietnam War.

The paint was removed, and the museum official shortly after the individual vandalized the mural.

Mona Lisa, the most renowned painting of all time, has been assaulted more than any other work of art. Over the years, people have thrown rocks, chemicals, paint, and even a teacup at da Vinci’s picture.

The Louvre has subsequently placed the Mona Lisa behind bulletproof glass, keeping people at a safe distance.

Following the Girl with a Pearl Earring incident, a Dutch cultural official stated, “Everyone has the freedom to make a statement.” But, please, respect our common heritage. Climate Activists attacking vulnerable objects of art is not the proper course of action.”

 

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