Pro and anti-car ban campaigners face off in Bois de la Cambre
Share article:
Share article:

Pro and anti-car ban campaigners face off in Bois de la Cambre

© Belga

Pro and anti-car ban demonstrators will take to Brussels’ Bois de la Cambre on Tuesday, seeking to sway public opinion as a tug-of-war over a lockdown vehicle ban in the capital’s largest park continues.

The two camps have called on sympathisers to come to join them for an afternoon in the park, to make their views heard and hike public pressure on officials negotiating whether to keep or lift the ban.

Amid Belgium’s first coronavirus lockdown, the City of Brussels shut vehicle traffic out of the Bois de la Cambre in an effort to provide more space for social-distancing and outdoor activities.

The organisation Make The Park for People Again is calling on those supporting the car ban to come for a ride or stroll-along from midday.

Related News:


“We demand that the Bois de la Cambre remains a green and relaxing space,” the organisers wrote on Facebook. “We need all of you to protect our right to this green lung!”

Around 1,000 people have responded to the event on Facebook, in which a wealth of community and environmental organisations are also taking part, including BRAL, Greenpeace, Fietsersbond, Bruxsel’Air as well as Critical Mass, a community-ran organiser of massive bike, skate ride-alongs throughout the city, taking place each last Friday of the month.

“The Bois de la Cambre is not a motorway, it is a park,” organisers told Bruzz. “The coronavirus crisis has underlined the need to make recreation space available for citizens.”

Organisations are urging participants to avoid gatherings and to stick to biking, jogging or otherwise putting to use the vehicle roads wrapped around the park while respecting the coronavirus rules.

Counter-protesters: ‘The park is for everyone’

On the other camp, a counter-demonstration is being led by an anti-car ban collective launched by local residents and traders who opposed the “unilateral” vehicle shut-out imposed by the City of Brussels (1000).

“We all have one thing in common: we are affected in our daily lives by the closure of the forest to car traffic on weekdays and Saturdays,” they wrote online.

The park, the largest in the metropolitan area of the capital spills into the leafy Sonian Forest and is crisscrossed by several motor roads, including key ones which link it to the Brussels ring road.

“The Bois de la Cambre is for everyone, not just for the supporters of soft mobility,” the group told Bruzz. Over 2,000 testimonials of people affected by the car ban have been collected by the collective, according to their website.

Counter-protesters are called to gather in the park’s Chalet Robinson and to march towards the central Louise neighbourhood in a loop alongside Avenue Diane, with organisers also setting up a pick-up point for those wanting to brandish protest signs.

“A 15-minute walk out there and back are enough to have an impact!” one organiser wrote in the collective’s Facebook group.

The demonstrations come just days after a court ruled in favour of Uccle —which borders the park— ordering the City of Brussels to reallow vehicles into the park, which is part of its territory.

The court ordered Brussels to lift the “apparently illegal shutdown of vehicle circulation” in the southern part of the park, near the pond, within 30 days or risk daily €2,500 fines for every day after the deadline.

Gabriela Galindo
The Brussels Times

Latest news

EU decides to activate emergency brake against new COVID-variant but stops short of flight ban
The new COVID variant detected in South Africa has put the EU on alert and prompted the Council’s Integrated Political Crisis Response (IPCR) to ...
Belgium imposes entry ban on travellers from southern Africa
Belgium is introducing an entry ban for travellers from several countries in the south of Africa following concerns about a new variant (B.1.1.529) ...
Cheat Sheet: New Rules, Quiet December Nights
It's been a while since we've had measures complicated enough to deserve a cheat sheet, but less than a week after Belgium rolled out new measures, ...
Belgium records highest number of new cases since start of pandemic
An average of 16,762 infections per day is now recorded in Belgium, with an absolute record of more than 25,000 infections in one day last Monday, ...
Brexit: trade and travel disrupted as French fishermen blockade ports and Eurotunnel
On Friday, the national committee for the French fishing industry has coordinated a blockade of three French ports as well as lorries bearing freight ...
Belgium implements ‘package of strict measures’
Not even a week after the previous measures came into force, Belgium is taking stricter measures to stop the fourth wave in the country, announced ...
Even with strong action now, ‘we will still have a few weeks of misery,’ says Vlieghe
Even if the Consultative Committee takes powerful and clear decisions today, Belgium will still have to endure a few weeks of misery while the number ...
Brussels tunnels blocked by Uber driver protest
Several tunnels in the centre of Brussels were blocked on Friday morning by Uber drivers protesting against a ruling by the Brussels Court of Appeal ...
Police strikes at Brussels and Charleroi airports cause delays
Police unions are taking action at Brussels and Charleroi airports this Friday morning, causing delayed services at both locations. At 7:00 AM at ...
Black Friday not your bag? Try Green Friday
Today is Black Friday: a North American custom that has made its way across the Atlantic and is when retailers aim to draw consumers in with low ...
Study links social media use with depression in adults
While social media has been linked to anxiety and depression in teens, a new study now suggests that adults are also susceptible. In Belgium, a ...
Nearly half a million of lives saved by COVID-19 vaccination in Europe, new study shows
A new study published on Thursday estimates that at least 470,000 lives have been saved among those aged 60 years and over since the start of ...