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Climate activists trample Brussels’ floral carpet, 20,000 view display from city hall balconies

18:48 16/08/2022

Three women from the Brussels climate action collective ‘Anonymous’ stepped onto the flower carpet in the Grand Place on Monday afternoon to protest about capitalism.

The trio trampled the floral display in Brussels’ medieval square on the final afternoon of its four-day show to the public, reports RTBF.

Calling itself ‘anarcho-poetic’, the group made an appeal in favour of the environment, parading a black banner with the message: "The capitalists are ruining our world. Revolt now."

The young women were escorted from the area by two members of staff and two police officers.

Their decision to trample on what they termed a "carpet of dead flowers" was a call for a future more focused on ecology than on the economy. “The future will be radically green or simply not be,” they said in defence of their action in a press release. "For our children and for us, let's revolt!"

The collective also deplored the lack of action for the environment, despite alarming reports by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

It called, among other things, to put an end to domestic flights, private jets and the development of space tourism, to allocate substantial aid to farmers respecting the land, to end intensive breeding and to prosecute rich polluters.

On the final day of Brussels’ previous flower carpet in 2018, two young women from the collective carried out a similar action, topless, to denounce the detention of children in migrant centres.

Floral display attracts some 20,000 people to balconies

Some 20,000 people admired the flower carpet from the balconies of Brussels City Hall, according to the event’s team on Monday evening.

The figure was slightly lower than the numbers recorded in 2018 of between 22,000 and 23,000.

Due to the drought, organisers replaced many of the traditional begonias with potted dahlias, which successfully proved more resistant to the dry conditions.

"It's been a good year, but attendance on the Grand Place is not as high as in 2018," noted Karel Goethals, spokesperson for the nonprofit Brussels Flower Carpet organisation.

"However, we see that the tourists are back. In the groups that reserved a balcony of the town hall, we had a lot of Americans and Germans… There were slightly fewer crowds on Sunday, perhaps because of the heatwave."

Fears of wilted flowers

"We were afraid of the heat, but the carpet held up well," said Goethals. "Flowers have withered a bit, especially the begonias, but we had replaced a good part of the planned begonias with dahlias, which are more resistant and it worked well."

After the carpet is dismantled, the potted flowers will be donated to the nonprofit association ‘Les Vrai Riches’, which works with people with mental disabilities. The remaining blooms will be composted.

Written by Sarah Crew