Brussels traffic in chaos as firefighters protest on the streets

Brussels traffic in chaos as firefighters protest on the streets
Hundreds of firefighters took to the streets of Brussels to denounce salary cuts for the second time in one week. Credit: © Belga

Brussels firefighters have broken out in a spontaneous demonstration for the second time this week, grinding traffic to a halt on some of the city’s main roads and tunnels on Wednesday.

At around 11:30 AM, members of the city’s fire brigade were caught on video starting a fire right outside the exit of a vehicle tunnel by Porte de Namur.

The protests, which are ongoing, have gathered around 200 Brussels firefighters, blocking the Cinquantenaire, Tervuren and Montgomery tunnels, according to La Dernière Heure.

The firemen were also sighted starting another fire in a roundabout by Boulevard de Waterloo.

As the protests picked up steam, Brussels police asked drivers to steer clear of the European quarter and to avoid the Rue de la Loi, citing “severe” traffic disturbances caused by the demonstrations in the area.

The firemen reportedly started out their protest at the Maelbeek metro station, where the 2016 Brussels bombings took place.

“We are here in Maelbeek station to show the politicians that we are disciplined and rigorous, and that we will always be there for the inhabitants of Brussels,” one firefighter told the French-language daily.

Wednesday’s demonstration is the second one this week, after firemen led their first spontaneous protest throughout the city on Monday.

The demonstrations aim to denounce a reduction in the wages of the fire services’ special brigades, who have reportedly seen their salaries slashed by the “sudden” suppression of bonus payments.

Gabriela Galindo
The Brussels Times

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