Brussels and its security forces are preparing for a new demonstration by the Gilets Jaunes, announced for Saturday. A similar protest on Friday last degenerated, with some 500 militants taking to the streets, throwing bricks and burning two police vehicles. Dozens of demonstrators were arrested.
For now, no one knows how big the new protest will be but the police force is preparing for it by beefing up its strength. Where or when the Gilets Jaunes will assemble remains a mystery. On social media, many groups have called for a demonstration around the Schuman roundabout in Brussels.
In its newspapers published on Sunday last, Sudpresse relayed a call by the French Gilets Jaunes to demonstrate outside the European Parliament. However, up to Thursday evening, the police had received no application for permission to stage a demonstration and all attempts to contact the Gilets Jaunes had failed.
The reasons for the protest are not clear, but they go beyond fuel prices. Demands posted on Facebook are extremely varied: double indexation of salaries, increased minimum wages, giving the population the right to recall their elected representatives, reduced energy taxes, better public transport, etc.
For its part, the police have announced the deployment of more staff and resources. On Saturday, all services (Brussels Capital – Ixelles precinct, the various other precincts in Brussels Region, Federal Police) will work together. According to some media, about 1,000 police officers will be mobilised.
Staff will also work on Open Source Intelligence (OSINT), which entails using information from freely accessible sources. Data on the Gilets Jaunes collected on the Internet and social networks will be analysed and distributed to the various services to be deployed on Saturday.
On the day of the protest, a Real Intelligence Centre will be set up. From there, staff working on OSINT will monitor and screen information on the Gilets Jaunes in real time on social networks and the Internet and transfer it directly to the command centre and police on the ground.