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Climate march takes place in Brussels today

Young people march in one of the last demonstrations before the pandemic. © Belga

The first major climate march to take place in Brussels for more than 18 months is scheduled to start on Sunday at 1:00 PM at the Brussels-North railway station.

More than 80 organisations have said they will be present, promising a large turnout. More importantly perhaps, the period of the worst of Covid-19 made other protests impossible, which is likely to stimulate attendance today.

In the meantime, to put a stamp on the urgent need for climate action, numerous residents of Liege and Limburg provinces are still out of their homes because of serious flooding in the area over the summer.

“Although a lot of political action has been taken since the last march, the targets set by our government are not ambitious enough,” Zanna Vanrenterghem, Greenpeace Belgium’s representative for the Klimaatcoalitie, told The Brussels Times.

Extreme weather and the effects thereof – forest fires, heatwaves, flooding – are concrete proof, the protesters say, that the climate is increasingly out of control. Such events are not only becoming more common, they are also more serious when they do occur.

“Decisive policies are needed to minimise the impact, starting with the most vulnerable,” organisers said in a statement.

Vanrenterghem added that “it is one thing to talk about climate, and another to take concrete action.”

Sunday’s action is planned to lead up to the COP26 UN climate summit due to take place in Glasgow from 31 October to 12 November. The organisers hope to act as a catalyst for action on the Paris Climate Accords, which aim to restrict global warming to a maximum of 1.5°C.

Participants in the march are asked to gather at the North station, from where they will proceed to the inner ring nearby, and march to Rue de la Loi and Schuman and the Cinquantenaire park, where the gathering will be addressed by representatives of the Climate Coalition, victims of the floods in Belgium and women of Sarayaku in Ecuador.

The Covid Safe Ticket is not required, but participants must be masked.

The transport authority Stib warns that some bus and tram lines may be hindered by the march. On the other hand, public transport is free between midday and 7:00 PM to allow participants to take part.

The rail authority SNCB, meanwhile, has laid on extra trains to bring marchers to Brussels and home again: one from Brussels to Binche, one from Antwerp to Brussels and two from Brussels to Antwerp.

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