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Demonstration against Police Violence to be held in Brussels on March 15th, 2018 PDF Print E-mail

 



On the occasion of the Day against Police Violence, "Stop-Repression" campaigners are organising a demonstration against State repression. This gathering is organised by JOC, MRAX, Coordination of Undocumented migrants in Belgium, ESG, Bruxelles Panthères and the Parents' Committee against Police Violence in Molenbeek. It has also received the support of several associations like CWM, IYCW, CNAPDCADTM, EcoloJ, Jeunes CSC ,... This campaign has been organized for 7 years now on each March 15th. In 2017 there were about 800 demonstrators marching in the streets of Brussels.

 

The objective of this year's demonstration as underlined by the organizers is to denounce « repression and racism which are used without any complex by the right-wing ruling the country ». Concern is expressed over the range of freedom-killing measures taken by the government in the framework of antiterrorism and the growing repression against undocumented migrants: « As minister Jan Jambon says that he wants to "clean up Molenbeek" and Mr. Francken wants to "clean up the parc Maximilien", as laws are approved targeting specific categories of people, as fundamental rights and freedoms are gradually lost, you just feel you live in a permanent State of emergency. ». After delivering some testimonies by people who were victims of police violence, demonstrators will gather together in Place Anneessens at 6 p.m. to start their march.

 

March 15th, an international day against ever-increasing police violence!

 

The international day against police violence is a solidarity campaign against police brutality. It is organised on the 15th of March every year. It was celebrated for the first time in Montreal in 1997. This day is celebrated by different groups and relatives of victims in the United States, Mexico, France and other countries. They are struggling to denounce repression, achieve justice and know the truth about the cases of police blunder. In Belgium, according to the yearly report of Comité P,  663 complaints were submitted in 2016 of which 433 are directly related with police violence (aggressiveness, unequal treatment, refusal to file a complaint, intimidation). According the Comité P. , the number of complaints increased by 3,98% compared to 2015.

 

A campaign against repression which started 7 years ago

 

The "Stop-Repression" Campaign was started 7 years ago by the YCW following the repression and the arbitrary arrests during the European demonstration on September 29th, 2010. Our contacts in the neighbourhoods and the experience of the activists showed that YCW members were increasingly exposed to the reality of police violence. A decision was made to launch a campaign on five main areas of work: criminalisation of social movements; racism and discrimination by the police; problematic use of the so-called non-lethal weapons by the police; keeping of records on citizens and Security State.

 

A call by the organizers

 

On March 15th we shall once more denounce repression against the people and social movements. We shall also denounce, for as long as it takes, State racism against racialized persons, Blacks, Arabs, Muslims and undocumented people, who are priority targets for this repressive system. Repression and racism are used without any complex by the right-wing ruling the country. It imposes its austerity policies through authoritarian measures which stigmatize, divide and control the people.

 

The range of restrictive measures taken by the government in the framework of anti-terrorism is more than alarming:

 

Deprivation of the Belgian nationality of bi-national persons;

Deployment of 1,800 troops in the main cities of Belgium;

Increase in the length of pre-trial detention from 24 to 48 h;

More than 100,000 residence checks mostly in 4 districts in Brussels only in 2016, in the framework of the "Canal Plan" and resulting in the closing-down of many Muslim associations.

 

On April 29th, 2017, a new "deportation" law was approved considering racialized persons as dangerous people, and allowing the authorities to evict "foreigners" who are legally established in Belgium, even though they were born here or have children with Belgian nationality, just because they would be considered a threat to public order. We also observe a strengthening of actions against undocumented migrants, manhunt in public transport, increase in detentions and expulsions. The most recent and critical example of what this government is doing are the cases of harassment of undocumented people in Parc Maximilien, shooting members of "La Voix des Sans-Papiers" with flash-ball guns, and the draft bill allowing home raids.

 

As minister Jan Jambon says that he wants to "clean up Molenbeek" and Mr. Francken wants to "clean up the parc Maximilien", as laws are approved targeting specific categories of people, as fundamental rights and freedoms are gradually lost, you just feel you live in a permanent State of emergency..

 

With these laws and actions, the very principles of democracy, which were previously so important for liberal politicians, are now called into question: i.e. equality before the law, separation of powers, presumption of innocence, respect for the Constitution and fundamental rights.

 

On November 11th, football fans celebrating the victory of Morocco in Brussels, many of whom were from Moroccan origin, were pushed from the Bourse with pumper trucks back to the neighbourhoods where they came from. As usual, when the police are faced with racialized people, they provoke them in order to heat up a crowd which is already worn down by daily racism and injustice. These events as well as the so-called riots in Brussels were used by the authorities to justify the strengthening of police force and the use of new weapons like flash-ball devices and taser guns which are extremely dangerous. The State takes every opportunity to militarize the police. It uses new repressive measures, firstly against "foreign people" who are not allowed to claim their rights, then against the weakest categories of the population. Knowing this, we demand that there is no visible police presence during the demonstration.

 

Let us be united on March 15th vis-a-vis a State which is exploiting fear, promoting racism and using arbitrary action. Let us be organised for the forthcoming steps! We are against repression and demand social solutions to social and economic problems!

 

Organizing associations: Jeunes Organisés & Combatifs, MRAX, Coordination des Sans-papiers de Belgique, ESG Asbl, Bruxelles Panthères, Comité des Parents contre les Violences Policières à Molenbeek  Signatories: Change ASBL, VSP Verviers, ObsPol, KAJ, MOC, CNAPD, CADTM Belgique, Agir Pour La Paix, USE (Union Syndicale Etudiante), Jeunes FGTB, Jeunes CSC Bruxelles, Chez Zelle ASBL, Projeunes, CJC, Gauche anticapitaliste, JAC (Jeunes anticapitalistes), Antifascisti Bruxelles, Antifa Antwerpen, Ecolo J, EGA-ALS (Etudiants de Gauche Actifs).


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