In a video message, Belgian Prime Minister Sophie Wilmès emphasised that mass demonstrations like the one against racism that took place on Sunday in Brussels are still not allowed.
“On the Place Poelaert in Brussels, about 10,000 people gathered peacefully,” started Wilmés, stressing that her message addressed the gathering itself, and not the “unacceptable acts of violence” that happened afterwards.
The fight against racism and all forms of violence is a just cause, according to Wilmès, but the gatherings are still against the rules laid down by the National Security Council.
“The rules are not there to muzzle all forms of expression, they are there to protect the population as a whole,” she said. “What happened on Sunday must not be repeated at this time,” Wilmès added.
— Sophie Wilmès (@Sophie_Wilmes) June 9, 2020
The National Security Council will “work out perspectives for forms of expression” in the next phase of Belgium’s exit plan. On Tuesday, following a meeting with the mayor of the City of Brussels, Philippe Close, they announced in a joint statement that they would create rules for protests after the lockdown.
However, those perspectives will have to be in line with the regulations that have already been detailed by the Security Council, “to ensure that the freedom to express one’s opinion in public is as compatible as possible with health regulations.”
Wilmès also stressed that people should not doubt the usefulness of continuing to make efforts to respect the measures after seeing images of the protest. “We must not give up. We cannot give up. The virus is still here,” she added.
The Brussels Times