The Brussels Capital/Ixelles police force is expecting serious traffic disruption throughout downtown Brussels next Monday, as well as on the ring road and in the European quarter. They “insist drivers should avoid Brussels” that day, they revealed on Wednesday.
Almost 5,000 European farmers are expected in the Belgian capital on Monday, because of the special council of European Agriculture ministers. Two simultaneous actions are scheduled. One group of farmers, led by the European Milk Board (EMB), “will take hundreds of tractors and approximately 1,500 protesters from various European countries to Place Schuman,” reveals the local police.
Another group of approximately 3,000 and a few hundred tractors, organised by Copa, the main European farmers union, will march from Gare du Nord train station to Place Schuman via Boulevard Albert 2, Boulevard du Jardin Botanique, the ring road, Rue Belliard, Rue Breydel, and Avenue d’Auderghem. “The protest march will be joined by 2 other groups of a few hundred each near Avenue d’Auderghem and the Park Léopold,” explains the police. Protesters will all gather together in front of the Justus Lipsius building on the Schuman roundabout.
Usual traffic diversions will be in place in the European quarter. Furthermore, the Schuman metro station will be closed all day (trains will run through without stopping). “If you must travel, we ask that you use public transport. Buses and above-ground tramways will be affected, but trains, metros and underground tramways will be spared,” warns the police.
Traffic issues could appear from Sunday. A citizens’ protest will take place in the European quarter prior to the farmers’ action, and according to EMB, some 100 tractors will probably already be in the capital.