Sunday, 12 February 2017
Around 150 people demonstrated in Ixelles on Saturday afternoon, in front of the Bruxelles-Capitale-Ixelles police headquarters. They were protesting about an attack on a young African man in Grimbergen on Wednesday evening. He was attacked by a De Lijn bus driver with a knife. Local police did not take the incident seriously and their Brussels counterparts refused a complaint submitted by the young man’s mother. The demonstrators see it as blatant racism.
The incident happened on Wednesday evening, when the young man was taking the bus home in Grimbergen. The driver questioned the SMS ticket the young man showed him. There was an argument, and the driver pulled out a knife. The victim was injured, but not seriously. The police went to the scene but let the suspect go, according to the demonstrators.
“If the situation had been reversed and the driver had been attacked, they would never have let the assailant leave so quickly”, says Mirielle-Tsheusi Robert, the president of the Bamko association. “The young man’s mother went to the Brussels police that evening, but they told her she couldn’t submit a complaint”, she added.
On Saturday afternoon, the mother and son went to police headquarters in rue du Collège in Ixelles to try and submit a complaint again. This time they were accompanied by 150 demonstrators, which appeared to change things.
Their long wait caused anger among the demonstrators, some of whom turned against law enforcement officers and threw sticks, stones and bottles at them. Police cars were damaged before calm returned in the early evening.