To defend his “anti-thugs” bill, the Belgian Minister of Justice broadcast to the deputies excerpts from a television news: broken windows, rain of projectiles thrown at police officers… “This must stop”, insists Vincent Van Quickenborne. The text provides for a ban on demonstrations of up to three years in the event of serious violence during a mobilization.
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“We want to introduce a judicial ban on participating in protest rallies, explains the Minister, not to restrict the right to demonstrate, but to protect that right from criminal thugs.”
On the union side, we are choking. According to Marie-Hélène Ska, general secretary of the CSC, the country’s largest trade union, the scope of the text is much broader than the government says: “It is clearly an attack on the right to demonstrate. And not only for the trade unions. Tomorrow, in a neighborhood committee, you are mobilizing because you do not want an industrial chicken coop to come and settle in your home. you occupy this space, it could be considered tomorrow by a judge as an attack on the reputation of the company which comes to settle there“, she denounces.
On May 22 in Brussels, we will support the workers of #Delhaize and we will also claim loud and clear our right to mobilize collectively in the public space. #22may @rtbfinfo @rtlinfo @LesNews24 pic.twitter.com/02yBPHW20F
— The CSC (@The_CSC) May 17, 2023
For the three main Belgian trade unions, this is yet another attack on workers’ rights. For two months, they have already been denouncing violations of the right to strike in the long ongoing conflict in Delhaize supermarkets. Interventions by the police or bailiffs are considered unjustified. They call, Monday, May 22, to demonstrate.