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Far-right groups to march on Sunday, despite no permit
The Brussels-Capital Region has denied a request by far-right groups to stage a march against the UN’s Global Compact on Migration, but the groups say they are going to march anyway. Protestors are planning to meet at noon on Sunday in front of Central Station.
According to the Facebook event post, the March Against Marrakesh is being organised by 10 Flemish extremist groups, including student group KVHV, Vlaams Belang Youth and Schild & Vrienden. They are protesting prime minister Charles Michel’s decision to support the migration pact, which led to the N-VA walking out of the federal government at the weekend.
The march is being organised, it says, because “our politicians no longer represent the voice of the people. That is why we must raise our voices, louder than ever before. We need to show the Rue de la Loi what people really care about. United we stand to say no to a new wave of mass-migration, no to politicians who neglect public opinion.”
The Brussels region refused to grant a permit for the march, and topped it off by denying all requests for marches on Sunday. A climate march was also planned, as was a counter-protest against the anti-Marrakesh group.
Police will act to ‘respect ban’
The minister-president of the capital region, Rudi Vervoort, made the decision with Brussels-City mayor Philippe Close to ensure that the march could not simply move to another Brussels municipality. Both men are concerned that the far-right march could lead to riots, especially in light of the other two planned marches.
The March Against Marrakesh is taking the Brussels’ officials decision to the Council of State in an attempt to get the decision overturned. Time is short, however, and march spokesperson Filip Brusselmans says they will march regardless.
“We will march on Sunday against the Compact on Migration, regardless of the ban,” he told VRT. “We are basing the decision on the right to assemble and the right to free speech. We are not interested in a confrontation with police.”
They might not have a choice, however, as Vervoort said that, while the organisers of the march have the right to appeal the decision to the Council of State, “if that is rejected, the police will do everything in their power to see that the ban on this march is respected”. Vervoort and Close made the decision to reject the request for a permit in consultation with the police.
‘Migrants are unsafe’
The organisers of the counter-protest, meanwhile, told Bruzz that, as they also were not granted a permit, they might cancel their march. They are concerned, however, about the safety of migrants in Brussels on Sunday.
According to counter-protest organisers Stroming voor een Antikapitalistisch Project, there are calls on Facebook to inflict violence on migrants in Maximilian Park. “It’s not the right-wing organisations but the extreme-right, fascist and violent groups that want to destroy everything,” said spokesperson Axel Farkas. “They are going to attack transmigrants in Maximilian Park. They already announced this on Facebook. We are calling for people to be vigilant.”
They are also calling for citizens to take migrants into their homes on Sunday, “so they can remain safe this weekend and stay away from the violence.”
The climate march organisers, meanwhile, said that their march would be held in January, though did not specify a day.
Photo: Members of right-wing student group KVHV during an event in Ghent last year. The group is heading up the March Against Marrakesh