Hundreds of demonstrators massed on Sunday at the Parc de la Boverie in Liège to protest against measures taken by Belgium’s Government against the spread of the novel Coronavirus.
Demonstrators’ demands included a call for the population to be offered a democratic and open debate on the response to the pandemic.
The demonstration was organised on social media by “Même pas peur” (Not even Fear), a grassroot movement. Initially, the protesters were to have gone in a procession to the Liège City Hall, then end their action at the Place Saint-Léonard, but the authorities preferred them to stage a static demonstration in the Parc de la Boverie.
The stated aim of the protest was to defend democracy and place citizens at the forefront so that they can express themselves and increase their participation in decision-making. Around 2:30 PM, a call was made to Belgium’s politicians to go to the site and exchange views with the citizens.
The demonstration should end by 7:00 PM, according to a decree issued by the mayor, but its closing time has since been announced as 9:00 PM.
No unrest or incident had been reported by 4:30 PM on Sunday.
Police preferred to maintain a discreet, background presence at the site, but some law enforcers in civilian gear could be seen there, as well as a police boat that monitors the banks of the Meuse.