Over 3,400 people have displayed their participation on Facebook in Sunday’s gathering on Place de la Bourse on the occasion of the 4th “Pic Nic The Street”. Brandishing the slogan “YES but NO”, the protestors made it clear they are in favour of an “intelligent” pedestrianised zone – “YES” to a pedestrianised zone but “NO” to a mini-ring and additional carparks. Various groups have been fighting for the city centre to be pedestrianised since 2012 and the extension of the existing pedestrianised zone was a first victory. This “Pic Nic” will therefore be the last one to take place on Place de la Bourse. As usual, the organisers did not apply to the city for permission to hold the event. “We believe that, as citizens, we have the right to use what is public space but that is usually monopolised by motorised traffic,” said Joost Vandenbroele, one of the project initiators.
The organisers do not wish to transform this event into a festival, as this is exactly what they are criticising current city policy of doing – turning the city centre into a “Disney Village”. For this reason, there will be no music at the event and business proposals to serve coffee and ice creams were rejected.
Platform Pentagon, a recently-formed group which meets with neighborhood committees, NPOs and traders’ associations, will be circulating a petition signed by the organisers of the “Pic Nic”. In it, the groups calls for the City to review its plans and to focus more on elements which contribute to quality of life (less pollution, less noise, soft mobility, a diverse retail offering and maintaining accessible rental rates). The “Pic Nic” is due to start at noon.