Today’s anti-government march: what you need to know

Today’s anti-government march: what you need to know
Protest in Brussels against the coronavirus measures. Credit: Belga

The latest demonstration organised by Belgium United For Freedom is taking place at noon today in Brussels, this time calling for the removal of the government.

Organisers expressed frustration that the concerns voiced by previous protests against the Covid Safe Ticket (CST) and mandatory vaccination have gone unanswered, along with letters mailed to various government officials, including Belgium’s king.

“What is the point of this government if we are not heard anyway?” activists said. They’re launching a petition that, if it gathers enough signatures from all the regions in Belgium, will force parliament to hear them out.

The demonstration planned for Sunday 30 January will begin at noon, with protestors to march from Brussels North Station to the Atomium with the approval of Brussels Mayor Philippe Close (PS), Brussels police reported Friday.

Route of demonstration irks residents

The procession will take them through the neighbourhood of Laken (Laeken), something which residents are none too happy about.

“Many residents are surprised and especially indignant,” one told Bruzz.

“What is the point of sending demonstrators to Laeken? The neighborhoods in the north of Brussels and in Laeken are really no less dense than the center. This is outrageous and unacceptable.”

The route has been adjusted following several chaotic editions held so far, many of which descended into violence, destruction of property and arrests.

Related News

Mayor Vincent De Wolf of Etterbeek, which has found itself playing an unwilling host to many of the demonstrations, noted a change in the nature of protests over his tenure: he said that while in the past, demonstrators themselves caused violence, today’s protests see people attending not because they agree with the cause, but solely because they want to commit violent acts under its cover.

A new route for Sunday

For this Sunday’s march, the route will leave from Simon Bolivar Avenue at the North Station and then continue through Willebroekkaai (Quai de Willebroeck), Groendreef (Allée Verte), Jules de Troozsquare (Square Jules de Trooz), Koninginnelaan (Avenue de la Reine), Koninklijke Parklaan (Avenue du Parc Royal), Kunstenaarsstraat (Rue des Artistes), Karel Boogaaerdstraat (Rue Karel Bogaerd), Emile Bockstaellaan (Bd Emile Bockstael), Jan Sobieskilaan (Av. Jean Sobieski) to end at the Atomium via Eeuwfeestlaan (Bd du Centenaire Bruxelles).

The riots following a previous Sunday's protest. Credit: Belga

According to organizer Sarkis Simonjan of Belgium United for Freedom, the new route was chosen after consultation with the police.

“We met with the authorities and made it known that we no longer wanted to go to the Cinquantenaire Park, after the riots of last edition,” Simonjan said.

“At first the Basilica of Koekelberg was discussed, but logistically that was not possible to organize. Several mayors had to give their approval for it and there was no time for that. The Atomium turned out to be the best solution.”

Copyright © 2021 The Brussels Times. All Rights Reserved.