As soon as the nine activists arrived, the doors of the ministry closed, says Marjan Smeulders, microbiologist at Radboud University Nijmegen. “So we went to stand by the back door.”

There, they held a banner and taped scientific articles to the windows. Although the police were present, they did not intervene. “The police officers just said we would have to pay the removal costs ourselves”, says Smeulders.

Making the world a better place

She did speak to one official, she says. “That was a young man who had studied in Delft. He was working at Economic Affairs to make the world a better place, he said, and wanted more contact with researchers.”

The activists’ demand: for the government not to issue a new permit for drilling for gas in the Wadden Sea. They were not taking action for the first time, as they also protested a month ago.

Scientists should become more activist, say the members of Scientist Rebellion. “We have to show that we are prepared to engage in civil disobedience”, said Twente assistant professor Guus Dix during the previous protest.


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