"Flintstones" arrested in EU car emissions protest

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - “Fred and Wilma Flintstone” were arrested as they approached the European Parliament on Monday to protest about the influence of the auto industry on proposals to curb carbon dioxide emissions from cars.

Six Greenpeace activists dressed as cavemen and traveling in a Flintstones-style vehicle were detained along with three others for public order offences, police said.

A stone tablet accusing car lobbyists of driving climate change was confiscated before it could be delivered to lawmakers, a Greenpeace spokeswoman said.

The European Parliament will this week start debating legislation to force down CO2 emissions from cars, with fines on manufacturers that fail to comply.

But lawmakers will consider amendments that weaken the original proposals from the EU’s executive European Commission by reducing the level of fines and phasing the laws in more slowly than initially envisaged.

European carmakers say the proposals threaten their ability to compete in international markets. Germany has vowed to stand by its car sector, which produces powerful luxury vehicles such as Porsche, BMW and Mercedes-Benz.

“Our activists and their zero-emission vehicle are raising the alarm about the influence this dinosaur industry exercises over EU climate policy,” Greenpeace transport campaigner Melanie Francis said.

Reporting by Pete Harrison