Iraq: Day X – Police attack Brussels anti-war demonstration

On Day X we left with an anti-war demo from the French-speaking ULB University. There were some 1,000 students and school students joined us. We discussed with the police to be able to go the Luxemburg Square where the European parliament is situated. At that very moment Tony Blair was present at the European parliament. The police told us they would react very strongly against the demo if we went there. To avoid problems we decided to demonstrate at the US embassy.

Day X. Belgium.

Police attack Brussels anti-war demonstrations

In front of the US embassy there was a good mood. Some people threw eggs at the embassy. The police responded to these eggs with a water cannon and pepper spray! After which some of the protesters started to throw stones. Many were arrested.

A day later, hundreds of school students demonstrated at the embassy. Once again the police used strong repression to try to disperse us. Undercover agents were in the demo, even a masked demonstrator wearing a Che Guevara T-shirt turned out to be a policeman who arrested people.

Amongst those arrested were youth of 15 to 16 years old. According to eyewitnesses they were kept in groups of 6 in prison cells meant for 1 person. They were kept in custody for 6 hours and they were not allowed to make a telephone call. And all that because they were accused of having thrown a few eggs!

On Saturday 22 March there were problems again at the US embassy. When the 10,000 strong national demonstration passed by the building several demonstrators stopped in front of the embassy. There again was a fierce police attack and many people arrested.

Our right to take protest action is in danger. Many people are shocked by the police violence, which shows on which side the Belgian government really is on in this war.

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March 2003