Damage caused by the farmers' protests in Brussels remains 'relatively limited'

Damage caused by the farmers' protests in Brussels remains 'relatively limited'
Farmers' protest in Brussels, 1 February 2024. Credit: Orlando Whitehead

Following the major turnout of farmers to protest in Brussels on Thursday, the physical damage to the city was deemed to be “limited”, according to Brussels Mobility.

The unprecedented demonstration involved over a thousand tractors expressing the agricultural sector’s anger on the capital’s streets. Protesters assembled mainly on Place du Luxembourg in front of the European Parliament. Whilst some damage was incurred, Brussels Mobility emphasises that it was relatively small considering the scale of the protest.

The regional authority reports that their teams noted damage to the monument to John Cockerill, a few damaged street signs and posts, a sawn-down tree and upturned lawns needing reseeding.

Brussels Mobility intends to file a case against “X” to recover necessary repair costs, a common practice when public space is damaged during large-scale protests. The regional body is currently evaluating the cost of the damage.

Farmers attend a protest action in the European district in Brussels, organized by several agriculture unions from Belgium but also other European countries on Thursday 01 February 2024. Credit: Belga / Dirk Waem

Brussels police also registered graffiti on the windows of Europe station and had to extinguish a fire at Place du Luxembourg, into which an electric scooter had been thrown.

Regarding the dismantled statue, the responsibilities for follow-up action are likely to fall on Brussels Mobility as Place du Luxembourg is a regional jurisdiction, according to the Ixelles municipality.

Brussels Mayor Philippe Close (PS) expressed his gratitude to the police for their work. He stated that the arrival of the protesters was well prepared and managed, and although there were more than expected dialogue was always maintained with the farmers, enabling the demonstration to proceed smoothly and simultaneously with the European summit.

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