Five arrested as Extinction Rebellion protests ‘absurd’ government negotiations
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Five arrested as Extinction Rebellion protests ‘absurd’ government negotiations

Credit: Extinction Rebellion Mons/Facebook

Five members of climate action group Extinction Rebellion were arrested in Brussels yesterday during a protest aimed at party leaders caught up in “absurd” coalition talks for a new federal government.

As part of a campaign aiming to pile the pressure on political leaders to roll out more ambitious climate policies, the group staged a protest in Rue de la Loi on Tuesday evening.

Activists deployed a banner reading ‘So what is your plan?’ as they stood outside number 10, which houses the cabinet of the president of the Chamber of Representatives.

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The group was targeting party leaders tied up in the last sprint to create a new federal government coalition, following a weekend of tensions which nearly saw the negotiations collapse after one party leader threatened to walk away.

The latest putting yet another spin on talks that have been ongoing for more than a year.

“We are in the midst of a climate crisis and despite this, our politicians cannot form a new fully-fledged government, after more than 16 months of negotiating,” an XR spokesperson identified as Christophe told BX1.

🔴 LIVE. Des négociations se tiennent en ce moment pour former un nouveau gouvernement fédéral. Nous sommes ici au 10 Rue…

Geplaatst door Extinction Rebellion Belgium op Dinsdag 22 september 2020

“With our message, we aim to bring attention to the real question during these absurd political times,” he added.

The five climate campaigners were arrested because they did not request authorisation to protest in Rue de la Loi, on which some of the country’s main political offices, including the office of the prime minister, are located but which is classed as a neutral zone where no protests are allowed.

“They were administratively arrested in order to identify them and issue them with a sanction (PV),” Ilse Van de keere, spokesperson for the Brussels-Ixelles police zone told The Brussels Times.

The protest on Tuesday marked the second act by XR targeting Belgian leaders and aiming to hike the pressure on the negotiations.

On Monday, members of the group targetted the Belgian Royal Palace, where the office of the king are located and tagged it with the same message: ‘What is your plan?’

Gabriela Galindo
The Brussels Times