At least two merchants on the Sablon have hung up “Stop Smet” posters, with the image of Brussels Minister for Mobility Pascal Smet (One.Brussels). With the posters, the merchants are protesting against the plans for a pedestrian zone on the Sablon, which is only a program item from One.Brussels for the time being. In 2016, similar posters with “Stop Mayeur” appeared when then-mayor Yvan Mayeur proposed the same pedestrian zone.
Last week, Smet was reportedly asked to leave the high-end shopping zone by several shop owners while he was distributing flyers about the project.
“Smet poses as a Julius Caesar who can just decide about the death or life of businesses. Without impact studies, without consulting the traders working here? That makes no sense,” said Patrick Van der Stichelen Rogier, manager of the Sablon Antiques Center gallery, to the RTBF.
“Our clients are generally old and well-off, not young people on a scooter. Moreover, we do not sell stamps, but statues, marble pillars, furniture or large paintings. We cannot survive without parking,” he added.
However, Pascal Smet does not intend to let go of the project. “We definitely want to make the Sablon a pedestrian zone. The project can be postponed, but not stopped. Many Brussels residents also let us know that they support the project,” Smet’s spokesperson told RTBF.