10,000 protesters expected in Brussels in national demonstration day
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    10,000 protesters expected in Brussels in national demonstration day

    With a national demonstration, unionists are sounding the alarm about deteriorating state of the country's social security system and of working conditions. © Belga

    Trade unions are expecting demonstrators to pour into the streets in large numbers on Tuesday, as they protest deteriorating social conditions and the current political impasse.

    The ABVV/FGTB general labour union said it will be expecting around 10,000 demonstrators to join in the national action day, which is expected to cause disruptions to the transport networks in Brussels.

    Protesters will gather at Brussels’ Gare du Nord at around 10:00 AM and will start marching towards the southern Gare du Midi, where they are expected to arrive at around 1:00 PM.

    Brussels public transport operator STIB/MIVB said it was expecting disturbances to its bus, tram and metro networks as some of its staff were taking part in the strike.

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    Only metro lines 1, 5 and 6 were running at around 7:30 AM, the company said in an online statement, writing that bus and tram traffic was also limited.

    Walloon and Flemish transport operators TEC and De Lijn said that the call to participate in the action could also lead to some disturbances in their services, with railway company SNCB/NMBS saying it forecast little to no impact on train traffic.

    ABVV said that pensions and the weakening state of the social security were a central reason behind their call to action, with a representative saying it was an “important moment” to fight for a minimum retirement of €1,500 net for everyone in the country.

    While a central reason behind the movement is to call out the stalling negotiations to form a new federal government, other unions said they would not join in the protest, since the current caretaker government has little room to take action.

    Gabriela Galindo
    The Brussels Times