Several thousand demonstrators at third march against coronavirus measures
Several thousand people took to the streets of Brussels on Sunday afternoon to protest against measures designed to curb the spread of coronavirus such as the mandatory vaccination of (health) care professionals and the Covid Safe Ticket (CST). The Brussels-Capital-Elsene Local Police Service says that around 3,500 people are taking part. The organisers say that there are 5,000 demonstrators.
As with the two previous demonstrations that took place on 21 November and 5 December the protest march started at Brussels North Railway Station and it will terminate at the Jubel Park, near to Brussels’ European District.
The two previous demonstrations were marred by violence. This time the organisers the Belgium United for Freedom collective hope that things will pass peacefully. To this end a large team of stewards has been deployed to ensure that the march passes without incident. The police left nothing to chance and people leaving Brussels North Railway Station were checked for the possession of banned and dangerous objects. 13 people were detained before the march had got underway.
As was the case at last Sunday’s march a group of fire-fighters were at the front of this afternoon’s demonstration. Some of them were in uniform, while others wore t-shirts with a Fire Service logo.
Belgium United for Freedom’s spokesman Sarkis Simonjan told the press agency Belga that he has no issues with vaccination against COVID-19 as such, but objects to it being made mandatory for people working in (health) care.
"The CST too is a violation of our rights and freedoms. Those that have been vaccinated are allowed access to various places, but this is no guarantee of protection against infection”, Mr Simonjan said.
Belgium United for Freedom is asking the government to listen to its arguments and calls for a “citizens’” debate in which members of the public could express their grievances and pose any questions that they might have.
"We understand that there is a pandemic and that the enemy is the virus, but a debate about the way we go about tackling the virus ought to be possible. The measures that are being applied now create political division, discrimination and paranoia. We have a number of ideas and suggestions, but politicians will need to listen to us. As long as that doesn’t happen, we will continue to take to the streets”, Mr Simonjan told Belga.