Around 1,300 people gathered in Ixelles on Thursday night to march against sexual violence, according to reporting from Bruzz.
The march was organised after two women shared accounts of being allegedly drugged and assaulted in a neighbourhood bar called Waff.
Police have since launched an investigation into those claims, which were shared on social media.
Waff reacted to the allegations by suspending the bartender, but reports circulated on social media that the bartender had actually just been transferred to El Café, another bar in the same area.
⚠️ À TOUS CEUX DE BRUXELLES ⚠️ Notamment les filles ! ⬇️Évitez d’aller au Waff et au El Café (Ixelles), le serveur du Waff a drogué et violé deux filles jeudi. Après qu’elles aient déposé plainte, le patron l’a transféré au El Café. Le serveur a déjà 17 plaintes à son actif. — Golden Wings ✨ (@RayHDDI) October 11, 2021
Translation: Warning for all of Brussels, especially the girls! Avoid going to the Waff and El Café (Ixelles), the waiter at the Waff drugged and raped two girls on Thursday. After they filed a complaint, the owner transferred him to El Café. The waiter already has 17 complaints to his name.
There have been calls on social media for a boycott of both bars, and Bruzz reports that in recent days, a dozen women have testified on social media with similar stories in the same bars.
On Thursday night, Waff and El Café kept their doors closed, with the managers saying this was done “to protect the staff and customers” during the march against acts of sexual violence like the sort purportedly committed by a member of their staff.
The managers of the bars said they “support the victims, but it is unacceptable for our waiters and customers to be insulted and harassed.”
Young women made up the majority of the people participating in the march, in which they shouted, “Rapist, it’s your turn to be afraid,” while they headed for Place Fernand Cocq.
There they met with Mayor Christos Doulkeridis (Ecolo), who promised to make the nightlife areas more women-friendly.
The march was authorised by law enforcement.