Extinction Rebellion occupy street under Monts des Arts in Brussels

Extinction Rebellion occupy street under Monts des Arts in Brussels
People holds banners as they participate during an action of Extinction Rebellion to demand an end to fossil fuels, in Brussels, Sunday 28 January 2024. Credit: Belga / Nicolas Maeterlinck

Approximately 150 Extinction Rebellion activists occupied the Rue Cantersteen in Brussels on Sunday afternoon, protesting to end the use of fossil fuels.

Extinction Rebellion has announced a string of protests leading up to the next Belgian and European Elections on 9 June 2024 to demand an end to fossil fuels. Sunday’s occupation was the first of this series.

"We all aspire for a clean and fair future where our families can live healthily and safely," stated Alena from Extinction Rebellion. "Instead of prioritising our health and safety, the Belgian government is investing in new fossil fuel projects, pushing us towards destruction."

After gathering at the foot of the Mont des Arts, a small street party with children's entertainment and food was organised. Brussels police were on the scene to "ensure the action remained peaceful."

Credit: Belga / Nicolas Maeterlinck

Extinction Rebellion is calling on the Belgian Government to phase out the use and import of fossil fuels, including ending subsidies for such fuels.

Activists believe the transition to a fossil-free future should prioritise fairness, affordable energy access for all, and preservation of our natural environment.

The European Investment Bank reports that 82% of Belgians view the climate crisis as the greatest threat of the 21st century, with 70% supporting more stringent government measures to combat it, according to the group.

"In 2020, Belgium gave fossil fuels subsidies worth €12.9 billion, while only 13% of the country’s energy came from renewable sources. Despite the environmental destruction they cause, the Belgian Government plans to subsidise the construction of at least four new fossil fuel power plants," they added.

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