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Trial into anti-TTIP hacking of Coca-Cola sign delayed

22:51 06/09/2018

A town councillor accused of hacking the famous Coca-Cola sign at De Brouckere to display a message condemning the transatlantic trade deal, TTIP, has had his court hearing postponed until next year.

Hugo Périlleux-Sanchez, a green party councillor in Watermael-Boitsfort, faces charges of hacking, computer fraud and degradation of private property. The possible sentence is up to five years in prison and an €800,000 fine.

The incident at De Brouckere dates back to 10 July 2016 - the night of Portugal's win over France in the Euro 2016 final. Several activists were involved - but Périlleux-Sanchez is the only suspect to have been identified and charged.

According to RTBF, the group climbed scaffolding on the building that houses the Coca-Cola sign and found the computer that controls the screen. It had no password and so the message displayed could easily be altered.

Périlleux-Sanchez was arrested and had his home searched in August 2016. About 200 people gathered outside Brussels' Justice Palace on Wednesday in his support, but the hearing planned for that afternoon was pushed back to 12 February.

A Greenpeace campaigner outside the court building told RTBF: "It is important that we show our support for an individual who has tried to make the voices of others heard with an act of non-violent civil disobedience. We believe that this was a legitimate, necessary and relevant act."

The "TTIP: Game Over" campaign was prevalent around Brussels, with the slogan: "No more negotiations. No more free trade deals. It’s time for action."

Other digital advertising billboards were taken over, including in front of the European Commission on Rue de la Loi, at Place Stéphanie and at the Libramont agricultural fair.

Written by The Bulletin