At Amsterdam rally, man grabs Greta Thunberg’s mic, decrying pro-Palestinian message

Activist chants ‘no climate justice on occupied land,’ invites Palestinian woman on stage as man interrupts event, says he came ‘for a climate demonstration, not a political view’

Climate activist Greta Thunberg is interrupted by a climate activist after Thunberg expressed solidarity with the Palestinians, during a rally in Amsterdam, Nov. 12, 2023. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong)
Climate activist Greta Thunberg is interrupted by a climate activist after Thunberg expressed solidarity with the Palestinians, during a rally in Amsterdam, Nov. 12, 2023. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong)

Climate activist Greta Thunberg was briefly interrupted Sunday by a man who approached her on stage after she invited a Palestinian and an Afghan woman to speak at a climate protest in the Dutch capital.

Thunberg was speaking to a crowd of tens of thousands when she invited the women onto the stage.

“As a climate justice movement, we have to listen to the voices of those who are being oppressed and those who are fighting for freedom and for justice. Otherwise, there can be no climate justice without international solidarity,” Thunberg said.

After the Palestinian and Afghan women spoke and Thunberg resumed her speech, a man came onto the stage, grabbed her microphone and said: “I have come here for a climate demonstration, not a political view.”

Others intervened to get him off the stage as the crowd booed. Thunberg responded “calm down,” and later chanted: “No climate justice on occupied land.”

The man’s identity was not immediately clear. He was wearing a jacket with the name of a group called Water Natuurlijk that has elected members in Dutch water boards.

The Afghan woman, Sahar Shirzad, told The Associated Press that Thunberg allowed them to take the stage with her.

“Basically, she gave her time to us,” she said.

The Palestinian activist also on stage with the women was identified as Sara Rachdan. As Rachdan spoke on stage about “death and mourning” in Gaza, her microphone appeared to be cut off, with a few in the crowd then shouting “let her speak.”

Before Thunberg took the stage, the event was briefly interrupted as a small group of activists at the front of the crowd waved Palestinian flags and chanted pro-Palestinian slogans.

She appeared undeterred by the incidents and was later seen dancing behind the stage as the band played.

Climate activist Greta Thunberg, left, is hugged by Afghan Sahar Shirzad after Thunberg was interrupted by a climate activist for expressing solidarity with the Palestinians in Amsterdam, Nov. 12, 2023. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong)

Thunberg has attracted widespread criticism for many posts expressing solidarity with Gaza while barely making a mention of Hamas’s brutal onslaught on October 7 which targeted civilians in southern Israel, killing 1,200 people and kidnapping close to 250.

A group of 100 environmental activists in Israel signed an open letter to Thunberg last month after a series of social media posts expressing “solidarity with Palestine and Gaza.”

The signatories wrote that Thunberg’s tweets and posts on the matter are “appallingly one-sided, ill-informed, superficial and are in complete contrast to your ability to deep dive into details and get to the bottom of complex issues.”

“Do you think Hamas represents human rights and freedom? Think again!” the letter read.

The rally on Sunday came after tens of thousands of people marched through the streets of Amsterdam calling for more action to tackle climate change, in a mass protest just 10 days before a national election in the country.

Organizers claimed that 70,000 people took part in the march and called it the biggest climate protest ever in the Netherlands. Thunberg was among those walking through the historic heart of the Dutch capital.

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