Hundreds of environmental activists wearing red jumpsuits marched with flags and banners on Saturday into the grounds of Tata Steel’s plant in the Dutch city of Ijmuiden to protest over air and soil pollution in the surrounding area.
Led by Greenpeace, the activists were joined by local residents who say the Indian company’s facility in the coastal city is responsible for high levels of heavy metals in nearby soils.
Tata said it respected protesters’ right to demonstrate but urged them to leave the premises for their own safety, adding that it could not shut down the facility during the course of the protest.
One group of protesters used boats to hang a banner reading “Tata Steel, You Sicken Us” at the port where the facility receives coal and iron ore.
The facility is under scrutiny by environmental agencies and prosecutors are investigating alleged intentional pollution of nearby groundwater, which Tata denies.
“First of all, the coke factories must close,” said Faiza Oulahsen of Greenpeace. “Poisonous clouds are released there almost every day … That has to stop,” she said.