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Hart Boven Hard Grand Parade expects 20,000 people
The organisers of Sunday’s Hart Boven Hard (HbH) demonstration in Brussels against the government’s cost-cutting policies are expecting as many as 20,000 participants and onlookers to turn out, a spokesperson said.
The Grand Parade will begin at North station at 13.00. Rather than the usual continuous single march, organisers have called for a parade divided into 10 parts. “We have 10 wishes, 10 principles for a different kind of society, and we’ve built the parade around that theme,” Wouter Hillaert told De Morgen.
HbH was launched last August by culture journalist Hillaert and publisher Hugo Franssen, who gathered together others from various sectors who were concerned that budget cuts introduced by the government of Flanders were not in the best interests of society. The organisation issued a parallel September Declaration – the Flemish minister-president’s annual address to parliament. HbH’s primary concerns are environmental protection, economic equality, the creation of worthwhile jobs, fair taxation and an end to poverty.
From 14.00, the parade will break into different routes, each with its own colour, symbolic object and chant that represents its principle. Marchers are expected to arrive at Place de l'Albertine at the foot of Mont des Arts at about 16.00.
According to Hillaert, 150 groups and associations have announced their participation, including trade unions, development groups and associations of students and seniors. Union members have been asked to wear scarves instead of their traditional coloured jackets, and politicians have been requested not to give interviews about the march.
On Thursday, a group of marchers left Lillo in Antwerp province to march to Antwerp, where they will be joined by others to continue to Mechelen on Friday and Brussels on Saturday. Another group is already under way from Ostend, travelling by bicycle.
photo: A Hart Boven Hard demonstration in Antwerp last December