Approximately 400 people took part in the Freedom Drive on Wednesday. This is a protest by people with a disability who wish to fully participate in society. The protest is part of the “Freedom Drive” event which is organised by ENIL (European Network on Independent Living) every other year, and during which disabled people from all over Europe get together to share anecdotes and challenge authorities. 2015 is the first year the Freedom Drive has taken place in Brussels, the previous six editions being hosted by Strasbourg.
300 participants from various countries, and approximately 100 Belgians, left the Cinquantenaire on Wednesday. The march headed for the Schuman Roundabout at midday, for a “meet and greet session” with Brendan Sinnott, in charge of the “Disability Unit” at the European Commission. Protesters will then go to the European Parliament where a debate will take place in front of various MEPs. Marianne Thyssen will meet with them on Thursday.
Protesters taking part in the Freedom Drive mention the United Nations Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities when requesting better access to buildings and public transport, as well as to education establishments and the job market. “We do not want to have a ‘separate’ system, whether at school or in our everyday life,” points out Peter Lambreghts, from ENIL. “What we want is to be active members of society.”