Disappointing turnout for Brussels Yellow Vest protest

Disappointing turnout for Brussels Yellow Vest protest
Picture regarding the Belga article "Environ 250 personnes a la manifestation des Gilets Jaunes a Bruxelles samedi", distributed today, in BRUSSELS. Credit: BELGA PHOTO/ GAELLE PONSELET

Around 250 people took part in a Yellow Vest demonstration on Sunday in Brussels, according to police estimates, far below what organisers had hoped to muster. Gathering in front of the Gare du Nord, the protestors marched toward the Place de l’Albertine, where they demanded government measures to the cost of living.

The low attendance in Brussels was a far cry from the movement's mobilisation in France, which took off in 2018 in protest against various social policies (particularly taxes on fuel) introduced by President Emmanuel Macron. Yet it seems that the momentum has dissipated.

There have been increased calls for new Yellow Vest (or "gilet jaune") mobilisation in France against the deteriorating standard of living. But the masses have yet to manifest themselves. In Brussels, protestors chanted “we want to live! We want cash!” and called for reductions in the price of energy and basic goods.

“We want to regain control of our finances, individual and collective. We want to live! We want to defend democracy that has been abused too much by those who claim to be its guarantors. The men in power do not want to listen? We will cry out!,” the event description for the Facebook page reads.

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The protestors also campaigned for greater social justice within Belgium. “Should we be surprised that in a democracy citizens express themselves?” the group asked.

According to Ilse Van de keere, spokesman for the Brussels-Capital-Ixelles police zone, the event took place “without major incident”, unlike large-scale demonstrations in Belgium in 2018-2019.

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