Disruption to public transport expected on day of action against protest bill

Public transport is likely to be disrupted on Thursday as unions protest in Brussels against a proposed law restricting demonstrations. STIB, De Lijn and TEC have all warned that their services will be affected due to staff taking part in the action. Train services are due to run as normal.

Earlier this year, Justice minister Vincent Van Quickenborne proposed a draft law that would impose a ban on “rioters” as part of wider reform of the legal system. The aim is to prevent people who are not actually taking part in a demonstration from using the protest as cover for causing damage.

Amended text

Following widespread opposition, the text was slightly amended. Unions and human rights organisations say the changes are not enough, however. They say the provisions are so broadly defined that the bill poses a threat to the right to collective action and could be misused to brand activists as rioters.

The Chamber was expected to decide whether to introduce the ban into law in July. This was postponed at the request of the left-wing PVDA party. Unions are now calling on people to gather in front of Van Quickenborne’s offices on 5 October to urge politicians to reject the law.

An earlier demonstration in Brussels took place on the day that 14 Greenpeace activists stood trial for entering the port of Zeebrugge during a protest.

"This law is a slippery slope towards curbing the free expression of civil society," Greenpeace's Joeri Thijs said at the time. "This law threatens to further open the door to criminalising these forms of protest and criticism."


Trade unions and civil society organisations demonstrate against the bill in Brussels in June 2023 © BELGA PHOTO WIM DEMEULENAERE

Related news

Website preview
Tens of thousands head to Brussels to protest against social dumping
A national demonstration against social dumping and attacks on the right to strike is taking place in Brussels today. According to unions, between...
Website preview
Six union members arrested amid ongoing Delhaize protests
Six union members were arrested during a protest at a branch of Delhaize on Watersportbaan in Ghent on Saturday morning. They were released a few...

Get updates in your mailbox

By clicking "Subscribe" I confirm I have read and agree to the Privacy Policy.

About belganewsagency.eu

Belga News Agency delivers dependable, rapid and high-quality information 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, from Belgium and abroad to all Belgian media. The information covers all sectors, from politics, economics and finance to social affairs, sports and culture, not to mention entertainment and lifestyle.

Every day, our journalists and press photographers produce hundreds of photos and news stories, dozens of online information items, plus audio and video bulletins, all in both national languages. Since the end of March 2022 English has been added as a language.

For public institutions, businesses and various organisations that need reliable information, Belga News Agency also offers a comprehensive range of corporate services to meet all their communication needs.


Arduinkaai 29 1000 Brussels