Climate activists to occupy Royal Palace’s garden to ask King to declare climate emergency
Thursday, 10 October 2019
Five environmental activists were arrested last month, after attempting to hand-deliver a letter to King Philippe. Credit: Extinction Rebellion
The Belgian climate activist group Extinction Rebellion plans to occupy the garden in front of the Royal Palace in Brussels to invite the King to declare a state of climate emergency on Saturday 12 October at 2:00 PM.
The activist group asked its members, and everyone who is sympathetic to their cause, to come to the Royal Garden for a 24-hour long debate about ten important themes, ranging from better education about the climate to alternative ways of mobility and how to shop responsibly.
The debates will be organised in the Royal Palace’s garden because it is inside the so-called ‘neutral zone’, where all demonstrations are prohibited. “This action is a deliberate act of civil disobedience addressed directly to the King, denouncing the Belgian political authorities’ inaction in the face of the climate emergency,” said Linde Polfliet, a member of the Extinction Rebellion, to The Brussels Times.
People have been trying to take action the traditional way for 20 years now, by organising marches, signing petitions, and lobbying, but all without result, according to the members of the Extinction Rebellion. “We, as concerned citizens feel like it is not enough, which is why we are taking action by organising an act of civil disobedience on a massive scale,” the organisation said.
“The activist group has around 2,000 people sympathetic to its cause in Belgium. Hopefully, many of them will show up, but I have a good feeling about it,” said Polfliet, who will be taking part in the debates.
“The Rebellion demands that the urgency of the situation is addressed by declaring a climate state of emergency, that Belgium will be carbon-neutral by 2025, and we also want that part of the political power will be transferred to citizens’ assemblies and experts to come to solutions to facilitate the transition,” said Polfliet.
“We know that the King has very little actual power over these things, but by infiltrating his garden and stepping out of our comfort zone, we hope that he will also step out of his comfort zone and take a stand. The symbolic value of the King’s support would great,” she said, adding that they want to involve more citizens in the political process to look for better democratic solutions.
Five activists of the Extinction Rebellion were arrested last month, after attempting to hand-deliver a letter to King Philippe, also by trying to get in through the Royal Palace’s gardens.