[short report of a protester]
The organisisers estimated the number of protesters in Brussels on Sunday 11 jan. 2008 at 50,000. As to the one-eyed police, there were only 20,000. Having only one eye they lack perspective of course. The organisers also complainted about the lack of cooperation of the police forces. To protest is a human right, it is also inscribed in the Belgian Constitution. It’s to the police to defend these rights of every citizen. When 50,000 people protest, there are 50,000 reasons to protect them.
Arriving at the ‘Gare du Midi/Brussel Zuid’, at half past one, a large group of new Belgians was organising in the station hall. Women and men of all ages, calmly preparing to march for peace in the streets of the European Capital. They orderly distributed security bandages and small Palestinian paper flags. I got no problem receiving one, hoping that, today in Brussels this little flag would be my ‘laisser passer’. It was.
One small remark about the organisation: I didn’t find the route of the manifestation nowhere. Thus I didn’t know it beforehand. This is one of the reasons I could’n take my 17 year old daughter who has been operated at her foot recently and is not recovered entirely yet. She wasn’t able to march all the way… Please think about these small details also. I guess a lot of people would feel more at ease when they would know beforehand where the manifestation stops, so they can arrange things, their life… Afterwards it took my only 60 seconds to retrieve the route from Google maps, here it is: http://maps.google.com/maps?f=d&saddr=Brussel-Zuid,+Frankrijkstraat+85,+1060+Sint-Gillis,+Belgi%C3%AB&daddr=Brussel-Noord,+Brussel&hl=nl&geocode=&mra=ls&sll=50.834828,4.33653&sspn=0.008619,0.016565&g=Brussel-Zuid,+Frankrijkstraat+85,+1060+Sint-Gillis,+Belgi%C3%AB&ie=UTF8&ll=50.847031,4.346809&spn=0.034467,0.066261&z=14
I know it is a huge task to organize such a manifestation, and I think I may congratulate all organizers and all organisations because they have done a great job.
As always there are small groups of very young people, this time a group of about 50, this means 0,1%, were manipulated by a guy that was much older. The securities of the manifestation have tried all they could to prevent them to escape and they didn’t succeed escaping neither, but of course at the end of the manifestation they could not be stopped any longer. It’s a pitty. I’m a simple citizen, I’ve been talking to several people of the security services, we all could point out the guy who wanted to make hammock, they tried to talk to him, but of cause they didn’t have police authority, what could they do?
This is what happens when the police refuse to cooperate with the organisers of a manifestation. The police of Brussels should know. I think that there is an average of 2 manifs a week in Brussels. They cannot say they aren’t experienced. When the police does do a bad job things happen. During the seven o’clock news on the radio my ears catched a few sentences while I was typing this report. I heard a reporters of ‘Een’ the Flemish radio, discribe the manifestation, I think he didn’t use more then ten words to talk about the 49,950 protesters and then he spent two whole sentences about the fifty puberal hammock makers. Sorry, the journalist who wrote that report has no idea of proportionality at all. In fact he is defaming 45,950 people who protested calmly. This is a serious professional error, truth should sack such a bunch of lies.
Anyway when I arrived at the ‘Gare du Nors/Brussel Noord’, people were still starting to march at ‘Gare du Midi/Brussel Zuid’: I checked this using my cell phone. Next to an avelange of Palestinian flags there were a lot of banners of all kind of organisations. A lot of groups carried a puppet of a wounded child while shouting: “The Israeli kill our children.” It’s the truth how macabre this may seem. All sprangled and devided Left was there also, from LSP, CAP and some other Trotskyst varieties, PVDA of course, a group of Leef…. to many to enumerate.
There was even one Flemish flag, carried by the brave that remain from Spirit. I saw Frank Bombeke and Geert Lambert there. At least one group that carried the Flemish flag it with dignity instead of making it rediculous when waving it during all kind of sports events. That’s the difference between honest Flemish commitment and the misuse of the Flemish Flag by some paid mercenaries of VB. Well, I didn’t see Letherme there with or without flag though a lot of politicians and trade unionists, ACV, ABVV marched alongside.
Also The PS was there, with a lot of parliamentary personel, the usual suspects. But anyway I think during this protestmeeting progressive politicians did really forget their quarels and rancour for a while, marching together for a people that is so much in need.
But what struck me also was the presence of a lot of small independant citizen initiatives. They mostly undertook some action for relieve of the Palestinians in Gaza. One was to boycot Israelian products it read: “Appel à la OUMA [Islamic community] A photocopier..” and then a long list of products to boycot. I hope they put that list on the Internet soon, because it is really to long to copy. Most of these small papers didn’t carry the name of an organisation, they were nameless, also the one that titled “Manifester dans la dignité.” (Protest in dignity). What can I add to such an enthusiasm, such a commitment. Well, le peuple a parlé, the people has spoken.
National Free Gaza demo 10.01.2009 (Indymedia UK)
70.000 tegen slachting in Gaza (Indymedia BE)