About a dozen activists from the Extinction Rebellion (XR) ecological movement blocked a Proximus store on the ground floor of the telecoms operator’s building on Boulevard Roi Albert II in Brussels, on Saturday morning.
The protest, which only lasted about 15 minutes, was calm. Police kept a watchful eye on the event, which was part of an international day against the deployment of 5G.
“We are opposed to the large-scale deployment of the 5G mobile telephone network, of which Proximus is one of the main actors,” said the activists’ spokesperson, who gave his name as Cedric.
“First of all, there is an ecological reason to fight this deployment,” he said. “Data circulation and digital energy consumption already account for 4% of global greenhouse gas emissions. With 5G, this energy consumption and the attendant effects will double, which is unacceptable when we’re currently fighting global warming.”
To build and connect all the equipment needed for the 5G network, already rare metals will need to be extracted in greater quantities, which will lead to the intensified plundering of the planet’s resources, the activists warned.
Moreover, “the damage 5G wreaks on health, environment and small animals, which are already vulnerable to other types of pollution, is not yet clear,” Cedric said.
“This technology is also a threat to our democracy, with the launch of a gigantic surveillance arsenal,” he added. “The so-called advantages of 5G are outweighed by the dangers it entails, certainly when compared to 4G, which is already performant.”