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Photos: Brussels firemen protests spark chaos in the city

Wednesday, 19 June 2019

Firefighters lit a fire outside the cabinet of state secretary for emergency services on Wednesday, in a second day of demonstrations against status changes and potential salary cuts. Credit: Gabriela Galindo/The Brussels Times
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A second day of spontaneous demonstrations by Brussels firemen culminated in members of the brigade lighting a fire in front of a state secretary’s cabinet and hosing the building down, after the firefighters cruised the city in protest of potential salary cuts.

Credit: Gabriela Galindo/The Brussels Times

Credit: Gabriela Galindo/The Brussels Times

The protests, which started at around 11:00 AM on Wednesday, were the second time the fire services had paralyzed Brussels traffic, after a first demonstration held at the start of the week.

Credit: Gabriela Galindo/The Brussels Times

As they made their way to the cabinet of Brussels State Secretary of Emergency Response Services Cécile Jodogne, Brussels firemen left a trail of smoke behind them as they quenched several controlled fires they sparked up in protests.

Credit: Gabriela Galindo/The Brussels Times

Upon arrival at the minister’s cabinet, the members of the fire brigade gathered around the building, as they were briefed on the result of the negotiations on their salaries and status, ongoing since Monday.

Credit: Gabriela Galindo/The Brussels Times

The firemen are disputing potential cuts to their salary as well the disappearance of special bonus payments, which would particularly affect members of the special service brigades, such as the mountaineer fire crew, the divers or the explosives teams.

Credit: Gabriela Galindo/The Brussels Times

The salary cuts would be an after effect of a change of the firemen’s status, as they are transferred under the competency of federal authorities, where, according to firefighters on the scene, salaries are lower.

After a fruitless exchange which saw management repeatedly booed by the angered first responders, the firemen hosed down the building of the state secretary’s cabinet.

Credit: Gabriela Galindo/The Brussels Times

Credit: Gabriela Galindo/The Brussels Times

Negotiations are set to continue on Friday, and one member of the brigade said that the firemen were not ruling out carrying out demonstrations again that day.

Gabriela Galindo
The Brussels Times 

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