‘Black Lives Matter’ announces demonstration in Brussels
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    ‘Black Lives Matter’ announces demonstration in Brussels

    On social media, the Facebook group ‘Black Lives Matter Belgium’ has called for a manifestation in Brussels on Monday.

    The call for a demonstration comes after the death of George Floyd, a black man who died after a white police officer put his knee on his neck for minutes in the United States. Footage of the arrest caused outrage worldwide, with protests happening across the United States, but also in London, the Netherlands and Germany, among others.

    It is not clear who is behind the Facebook group, as the organisers say they “are not ready to disclose any personal info or identity yet because of safety reasons.”

    They call for a peaceful protest on the Place de Monnaie in Brussels on Monday 1 June, from 2:00 PM.

    However, it is not yet clear whether or not the protest will take place. “The federal government’s measures against the coronavirus still state that it is not allowed to hold demonstrations,” Ilse Van de Keere, spokesperson for the Brussels Capital-Ixelles police zone, told The Brussels Times.

    “Additionally, no official request has been made for this demonstration. We will follow up on it, and take the appropriate actions,” she added.

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    The City of Brussels also said that demonstrations of any type are not allowed because of the coronavirus measures. “We have not approved any other applications for a demonstration, and we can also not approve this one,” Maïté Van Rampelbergh, spokesperson for City of Brussels’ mayor Philippe Close, told The Brussels Times.

    “We will see how we can meet that demand in an appropriate way, but we cannot allow demonstrations on the street in large groups,” Van Rampelbergh said.

    The organisation called on everyone who wanted to participate to respect the safety measures, such as wearing a face mask and respecting the social distancing rules and bringing hand sanitizers.

    Over 1,000 people have indicated that they will be present, and over 2,000 others said they are interested, according to the Facebook event.

    Update: The organisation has announced via its social media channels that the protest on Monday is cancelled, because it was not authorised. The organisers are in talks with the police to organise the protest at a later date.

    Maïthé Chini
    The Brussels Times