Brussels lights up with rainbows after UEFA bans Munich protest
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Brussels lights up with rainbows after UEFA bans Munich protest

Credit: Romaine/ Wikipedia

The City of Brussels will light up Grand Place in the rainbow colours following the news that UEFA would not allow Munich’s Allianz Arena to be similarly lit in support of LGBTQ+ rights.

The city’s main landmark – and a Unesco world heritage site – will light up on Wednesday evening to show support for LGBTQ+ rights in Europe following the news in Munich and the vote in the Hungarian Parliament on its anti-LGBTQ+ law.

What happened in Munich?

The German stadium – which will host the Euro 2020 match against Hungary on Wednesday – was going to be lit in rainbow colours in protest against legislation prohibiting the “promotion” of homosexuality in Hungary.

The legislation, which states that no references can be made to LGBTQ+ people in places where minors are present, has already received condemnation from European leaders.

The Union of European Football Associations (UEFA), however, would not allow the protest, saying that the political context of the action would violate rules about political and religious neutrality.

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“I find it shameful that UEFA forbids us from setting an example for diversity, tolerance, respect and solidarity,” Munich mayor Dieter Reiter said in a statement.

Tagging UEFA in a tweet, Brussels City mayor Philippe Close also weighed in.

“The Grand-Place of the City of Brussels will be illuminated in the colours of the rainbow this evening,” Close said on Twitter. “Love is Love in the heart of the capital of Europe”.

The action will be joined by the nearby Brussels parliament, which raised the rainbow flag to “reaffirm its concern to promote inclusion, human dignity and equality – values at the heart of the European project,” president of the regional assembly, Rachid Madrane, told Belga.

“No place for homophobia”

On Friday, Belgium’s Prime Minister Alexander De Croo called for financial sanctions against Hungary following the country’s latest anti-LGBTQ+ law.

“There is no place for homophobia in the European Union,” De Croo said while addressing Parliament.

“The EU is not a cash machine, from which you can withdraw money but then not have to abide by the rules. The European Union is a club with clear rules, and so there must also be mechanisms to force members to respect certain rules.”

This week, 14 European Union member states backed a joint statement, initiated by Belgian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sophie Wilmès, condemning the LGBTQ+ legislation passed by the Hungarian Parliament.

“The new Hungarian legislation undermines the fundamental values of the Europe we stand for. Belgium immediately took the lead in raising the issue at today’s European Affairs Council, together with our partners from the Benelux – traditional defenders of LGBTQ+ rights,” said Wilmès.

European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen said on Wednesday that the Commission would address Hungary about the law.