“Your gas guzzler kills. SUVs and 4x4s are a disaster for the climate.” That is written on a note that a member of the environmental club left with an SUV whose tires he had deflated. The group has mainly been active in European countries such as Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. Now it’s the Netherlands’ turn. The tires of at least two cars have already been punctured in The Hague.
Deflating tires is an act of destruction. This is subject to a maximum penalty of EUR 22,500 or a maximum of two years in prison. If the driver starts driving with the deflated tires and it results in a life-threatening situation, the maximum penalty is 90,000 euros fine or a maximum of fifteen years in prison.
Mariëlle Hurkmans, owner of the De Dames van Hurkmans car garage, doubts whether Tire Extinguishers’ campaign is of much use for the climate. “SUVs are not that polluting, especially the new models are a lot less harmful to the environment. Older cars are more polluting in that case,” she tells EditieNL.
In addition, not all drivers immediately realize that the tires of their car are slowly deflating. “Most cars indicate when there is less tire pressure, but not all. You then drive your entire tire to smithereens.” Annoying, because the costs of having your tire replaced can be as much as five hundred euros, Hurkmans knows.
That also carries a danger: “A steering error is easily made if your tires are not in order, especially in the city.” That’s why not many people will feel sympathy for the environmental club, she thinks.
With these kinds of actions, there is always the risk that an action group runs, says Jacquelien van Stekelenburg, professor of social change and conflicts. “It’s a very fine line: as an organizer you want attention, but then you have to be in the fray of public order. As a result, people lose sympathy.”
Because people themselves are the victims of the deflated tires, there is less support. Stekelenburg compares this with the farmers’ protests. “That was a lengthy campaign where people gradually lost their patience. That was counterproductive.”
The Hague police calls on you to report vandalism if your tires have been deflated by the environmental group. “Then we can recognize the patterns and conduct extra surveillance if necessary,” says a police spokesperson.
Marion Walker van The Tyre Extinguishers Let EditieNL know in a comment:
“The Tire Extinguishers are now operating in seven countries. We are unstoppable because anyone, anywhere can join in. We won’t stop until we’ve made it impossible to own a guzzling SUV anywhere in the world. urban areas.”