Several hundred police officers observed a minute’s silence on Monday morning outside the Brussels courthouse on Place Poelaert in honour of Thomas M., the police officer who died after being stabbed on Thursday in Schaerbeek.
Police members of the public service union, CGSP, spoke briefly before the minute’s silence to pay tribute to the memory of Thomas M., but also of all other Belgian police officers who have died while on duty in recent years.
The sirens of the police cars and fire brigade vehicles, which were also present, were then sounded for one minute.
“Who is responsible? An investigation is under way, and we hope it will be quick and thorough,” said CGSP member Philippe Van Eeckhaut. “The first elements are clear: a person known to be radicalised went to a police station and declared his hatred of the police, his intention to attack police officers. A crime announced that no procedure could prevent, how is that possible?” he said.
The trade unionist pointed to the responsibility of “the Ministers of Justice and the Interior” in particular.
“We cannot shake off the impression that we are not being listened to, despite the repeated cries of alarm from the unions about the systematic destruction of our status, the lack of funding and communication causing a cascade of dramas. The judiciary, in this case, did not see the danger either,” he said.
“All police officers are now calling the political and judicial powers to account. They are totally disconnected from the reality on the ground, as it is experienced by police officers on a daily basis,” Van Eeckhaut said.