Since 12:00 this afternoon, activists of University Rebellion (UR) have been blocking the VSNU headquarters in The Hague. They have climbed up the facade to hang banners and sing songs, as can be seen on their Instagram stories. Three people are chained (at an appropriate distance) in front of the entrance to the building and another three on the street. “They are also glued to the ground,” says a spokesperson for the movement.
University Rebellion urges university to fight climate change
On Thursday, the University Rebellion action group staged protests at twelve universities…
UR students, scientists and staff are taking action against climate change and think that universities should do more about it. At the end of last year, they published a manifesto. The slogan is ‘decarbonise, decolonise, democratise’.
UR believes that the VSNU should take a firm stand on these themes, especially during and after the elections. “The next four years are crucial to ensure that global warming stays below 1.5 degrees Celsius,” say the campaigners. “The VSNU has the authority and power to warn politicians and inform society about crises they were previously unaware of.”
Initially, some 25 to 30 people took part in the protest, their spokesman said at around 2pm. “But the police have arrested thirteen people by now. The people in chains are still there. We hope to be able to hold it until six o’clock.”
Earlier today, University Rebellion and the VSNU had a meeting. According to the activists, this meeting revealed that the umbrella organisation is “not prepared to fulfil its social role”, which resulted in the protest action.
The VSNU sees things differently. “University Rebellion has approached us with the demand that we speak out on the climate crisis,” says a spokesperson. This morning, the VSNU did indeed have a meeting with University Rebellion. “We experienced this as a good conversation and are surprised about this action. The universities are committed to the climate in many ways, from scientific research to making the campuses more sustainable.”
Incidentally, the blockade will not greatly impede the work of VSNU staff today. “All our employees work at home, so in principle no one is in the office.”