EU Institutions

The fishermen's demonstration shakes up the rue de la Loi in Brussels

(B2) The Law street blocked (the street which serves the headquarters of the European Commission as well as many DGs – general directorates – and is also that of the Prime Minister, the Belgian assembly and a number of ministries). Several hundred police officers, from the Brussels police with reinforcements from Etterbeek and the General Reserve. A federal police helicopter in the air. Every effort had been made to receive with dignity the fishermen, mainly French, who had come to demonstrate in Brussels. In fact, only 300 were present, by the looks of it. The others having apparently been blocked at the borders.

La calm demonstration at the beginning, in the morning, degenerated in the early afternoon. When a delegation, after having been received for a good hour, by the head of the office of European Commissioner Joe Borg, responsible for Fisheries, left. The language of European officials rejecting “short-term solutions if they are not part of structural reforms” or explaining that “it is not Commissioner Borg who has the solution but that it is rather in the States members” clearly had difficulty getting through to the sailors who remained pounding the pavement.

Results… A few cobblestones have been loosened, and flew towards the windows of some nearby European buildings. The General Directorate of Agriculture, nearby, notably received numerous broken windows. As is the Lex Council building. And a bank (in the evening, the glaziers were already at work repairing the damage). One or two trash cans were also burned. And an overturned car.

74 fishermen were arrested (73 French) by the police – 60 administrative arrests and 14 judicial arrests. The police – aided by helicopter tracking – apparently went looking for the troublemakers in the adjacent streets, to bring them back, under good escort – and detained them for a few hours. The police especially did not appreciate the “tense rocket fire” from the Navy. “ This is inappropriate. It's dangerous » assured a manager. The police reported three minor injuries. “ We're releasing everyone bit by bit “Assured, last night, Christian De Coninck, spokesperson for the Brussels police. But for the judicial arrests, still weighed the sword of Damocles of possible prosecutions of the Public Prosecutor's Office.


Photos: © Ngv (the last photo is deliberately blurred)

Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).

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