Greenpeace activists demonstrate at a metallurgical site of steel giant Tata Steel, in Velsen near Amsterdam, the Netherlands, on June 24, 2023. RAMON VAN FLYMEN / AFP
Several hundred activists from the NGO Greenpeace forced the barriers of a production site of the steel giant Tata Steel, in Velsen, near Amsterdam, on Saturday June 24, in order to demonstrate there, despite the formal prohibition by local authorities.
They protest against the pollution caused by the activities of this factory, considered by the organization for the defense of the environment as “one of the most polluting metallurgical plants in Europe and located in the middle of a densely populated area”.
“Together, Greenpeace Netherlands, local residents and activists demand that the most toxic parts of Tata Steel be closed in order to protect the health of nearby residents”, Greenpeace said in a statement on Saturday. Dutch police closed the Reyndersweg, a street near the site, on Saturday, it said in a statement, before finally announcing its reopening.
In support of the Greenpeace demonstration, seven members of the environmental movement Extinction Rebellion chained themselves shortly before 1 p.m. to a railway line connected to the industrial site and were still chained at 3:20 p.m., confirmed Berthe van Soest, spokesperson for the movement, to Agence France-Presse. Under the name “Together for healthy air”, another demonstration supported by local environmental defense organizations also took place on Saturday on a beach near the site.
Investigation for pollution
The possible presence of demonstrators on the grounds of Tata Steel had for several days been the subject of a dispute between the local authorities and Greenpeace. In an open letter published Thursday, the mayor of Velsen, Frank Dales, had banned protesters from going to the site, highlighting its dangerousness.
“Security is also at the forefront of action initiated by Greenpeace. Activists may want to enter Tata Steel grounds (…) which is vast and dangerous in several places, including huge installations that cannot be deactivated, hot substances, large vehicles, including trains, etc. »he warned in an open letter.
“The mayor had better wonder about the safety of the inhabitants of his own commune. It is precisely dangerous to live near Tata Steel since toxic clouds are escaping from the factory every day”, had retorted Faiza Oulahsen, director in charge of climate and energy of Greenpeace Netherlands, in another open letter. In February 2022, the Dutch courts opened an investigation into “intentional and illegal” pollution caused by the steel giant Tata in its factory near Amsterdam, considering that public health could be threatened.