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Police convicted for heavy-handedness at Extinction Rebellion protest
A Brussels court has officially condemned officers of the Brussels Capital-Ixelles police zone for "heavy-handedness" in their response to protestors staging an action back in 2019.
The court determined that the arrest of 22 members of environmental activism group Extinction Rebellion was illegal.
The 22 protestors had staged an action in protest against Black Friday, a day of shopping sales that has come to be seen as an example of rampant consumerism.
Police justified the arrests at the time by saying that the activists were “in possession of material that suggested they were planning something: paintbrushes, spray paint, glue, posters and banners directed against Black Friday. The banners and posters had the Extinction Rebellion logo.”
The activists were subjected to a strip search and spent the night in a cell.
The court ruled that the poster campaign planned by the group did constitute an offence and that the arrests were not justified.
The police zone appealed against the verdict but its appeal was dismissed and the court doubled the amount of damages owed to each victim from €250 to €500.