Five arrested after Extinction Rebellion activists storm Royal Palace
Monday, 30 September 2019
In an act of "deliberate civil disobedience" five environmental activist stormed the Royal Palace in an attempt to call on King Philippe to act on climate change. Credit: Extinction Rebellion
Five environmental activists have been arrested after attempting to hand-deliver a letter to King Philippe on Monday by bursting into the Royal Palace’s gardens.
A video showing five “rebels” approaching the palace’s front gates and jumping over its parapet was published by Extinction Rebellion Belgium on the group’s Facebook page at around 9:00 AM.
“Little visit to the king’s home this morning: our rebels enter the garden of the Royal Palace of Brussels to hand [the King] a letter,” the caption read.
Brandishing flags and carrying a letter, the five activists can be seen approaching the palace’s door before being halted by a police guard, who is seen pushing them back as a second officer approaches.
“We are going to read the letter,” one of the activists said, passing a large paper sheet around as the guards attempt to make them leave.
“Your majesty, your kingdom is burning” the letter, read aloud by one of the activists, begins: “We are in an unprecedented situation (…), we are speaking to you directly, to ask for urgent help, because, every day that passes sees the means at our disposal to remedy the crisis diminish.”
Citing the Belgian constitution, the letter goes on to reference the latest scientific data to call on Belgium’s head of state to undertake government action to fight climate change.
The letter puts forward measures such as the launching of a legally binding “national emergency plan” to wean Belgium off fossil fuels by 2025 and to include citizens in the energy transition process.
Five activists were arrested as a result of the planned action but were later released with a fine, a member of the activist group said at around 10:00 AM.
Extinction Rebellion is an environmental activist group which promotes civil disobedience to push for climate and environmental action.
Originally established in the United Kingdom, the group, known for its eye-catching and disruptive demonstrations, has since branched out across the globe, including in Belgium.
The Belgian group’s action on Monday was presented as a “deliberate civil disobedience” act, since the royal grounds are deemed a “neutral zone,” where no political demonstrations are allowed.
The group has called on citizens across the country to join in a “mass, non-violent civil disobedience action” by organising an occupation of the Royal Palace on October 12.