On Saturday afternoon, a crowd gathered outside Brussels Central Station to protest against a possible war in Ukraine and against any increase in the defence budget to fund future wars, Belga News Agency reports.
Around 200 protesters took part in the demonstration, according to the organisers, who said they were worried that the tensions between the United States and NATO, on one hand, and Russia on the other, might erupt into violence very soon.
“The crisis in Ukraine is escalating rapidly and what is really worrying is that both sides are becoming more and more belligerent and have nuclear capabilities," said Ludo De Brabander of the Vrede Association, which organised the protest.
De Brabander continued by expressing his belief that the problem isn't being dealt with responsibly: "it's a crisis that can easily be averted". He questioned "a small symbol might be given to Russia" such as a moratorium on NATO’s expansion. This is one of Russia's demands that De Brabander believes should be considered seriously in the hope of defusing the tense situation.
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Protesters asserted that it is "entirely possible to negotiate a non-militarised peace in Europe and repeated that “With war, everyone loses.”
De Brabander said his group was also “angry that the Belgian government has decided without any debate to increase the defence budget.”
“They plan to invest €10 billion by 2030 in military resources such as missiles, assault tanks and so on,” he said. “That's the equivalent of €1,000 per inhabitant, which is shameful when we’re facing health and energy crises.”