Three people face prosecution following farmers' protest in Brussels

The Brussels public prosecutor's office has opened a preliminary investigation against three people involved in the large farmers' demonstration on 26 February, the office announced on Monday evening, ahead of a new demonstration in the capital.

"On Monday, February 26, 2024, a large demonstration of farmers took place in Brussels on the occasion of a meeting of the European Council of Agriculture and Fisheries," said Amaury Verhoustraeten, spokesperson for the public prosecutor's office.

"A large number of tyres and straw were set on fire, and some demonstrators tried to force their way past the police with tractors. There were also a number of minor incidents. Three police officers were also injured during these protests."


While no arrests were made during the demonstration due to protestors covering their faces or concealing the number plates of their tractors, a thorough investigation and analysis of CCTV footage allowed police to identify three individuals who will be summoned to court.

"One person who used a fertiliser lorry to spread slurry over police services has already been interviewed by police," said Verhoustraeten. "The suspect was released after questioning but was issued with a summons for armed rebellion, defamation and degrading treatment. The suspect will appear before the criminal court in Brussels on 2 May 2024 to answer for his actions."

A second person allegedly made threats against the police during a television interview, while a third person, who kicked a police officer in the chest, is suspected of assault and unarmed resistance. Both will receive a summons to be questioned by the police.

Third protest in Brussels

On Tuesday, for the third time this year, farmers are heading to Brussels to protest. The European organisation Via Campesina (ECVC), which represents small and medium-sized farms, the Walloon farmers' organisation Fugea and the Walloon farmers' federations FJA and FWA will be among those taking part. Fugea is expecting around 300 tractors in the capital.

"The Brussels public prosecutor's office respects the right to assemble and demonstrate on public roads, as long as this does not involve crimes, particularly crimes against persons," Verhoustraeten said. "The public prosecutor's office will take strong action if crimes are committed during demonstrations."


A farmer uses a tractor to force a police barrage during a protest by farmers' organisations © PHOTO JOHN THYS / AFP

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