The Arts-Loi Metro station in Brussels reopened around 15:00 after being closed off to the public on Tuesday morning as a result of the national demonstration by the police and fire services – which was part of the announced week of protest actions organised by the public services.
Over 500 police officers, firefighters and ambulances were gathered around the station and even a helicopter is circling overhead. The demonstration started this morning at 10:00 and protestors marched along the Congress Column towards the Arts-Loi station.
"When there are too many people above ground, the police can decide to close a metro station. Due to the manifestation, they decided to do so on Tuesday morning," An Van hamme, spokesperson for the Brussels public transport company STIB, told The Brussels Times, adding that while metros would continue to drive through the station, they would not stop there.
Around 14:45, however, STIB announced via its social media channels that the station had reopened and that the metro lines could again stop there.
The Arts-Loi stop is close to the Federal Government buildings, and the protesters will talk to Federal Interior Minister Annelies Verlinden. They are urgently calling for more to be done for the front-line zones and for the necessary funding to be provided.
The fire service staff is also denouncing the lack of consultation with the Public Health Service and wants to put an end to the unilateral decisions.
"Civil security is eternally forgotten in our country. There is insufficient investment in government services compared to other countries," Eric Labourdette, VSOA firefighter union representative, told local media. "The workload is increasing, but the number of employees is constantly declining."