Prime Minister Sophie Wilmès has called on the City of Brussels to find an “alternative” to a Black Lives Matter protest (BLM) in Brussels which over 6,000 have said they will attend this weekend.
“I hope that one will be able to find an alternative to that demonstration, which would run counter to the measures we have taken to protect them, not to muzzle or silence them,” Wilmès said in an address to parliament on Thursday.
“I know that some people in Belgium wanted to mobilise in response to the events in the US,” she said, adding: “We must also respect the situation in regards to the health care staff and prevent them from being flooded again,” she added.
As of Thursday, some 6,200 people on Facebook said that they would attend the march on 7 June, with sister marches also organised in cities like Antwerp, Liège or Hasselt.
Organisers of the march, which include activists groups Change Brussels and Inside Women, said on Facebook that the march would be “peaceful, static and non-violent.”
The march follows the cancellation of another event launched in the name of BLM Belgium, which was hit by a storm of criticism after the organisers were accused of putting people of colour at risk by organising a non-authorised protest.
A spokesperson for the Brussels-Ixelles police zone declined to comment and said the decision would be taken by Brussels Mayor Philippe Close.
As of Friday organisers said they were still attempting to obtain authorisation from authorities, with Wafaa Hammich, spokesperson for Close, confirming that negotiations were ongoing, but did not comment on Wilmès’ statements.