(wlcentral.org) The past two days were very important for the political calendar of Europe. The European Commission signed the new adjustments of the Euro-Pact, the rules for the european commonwealth, organized by the European Bank, the IMF and the executive body of the European Union. In Brussels, where the whole summit took place, people went to the streets and squares to manifest their indignation regarding corruption and economical dominance of state affairs.
We have been there and experienced two days of rage in the european political capital.
(Part 1 of 2)
PART 1 – WEDNESDAY 2011, June 22.
* Taking the European Parliament
The day started with a gathering at Schuman Square, situated beside the European Comission building. A meeting and a popular assembly took place there for around 3 hours. The presence of the police was constant during the rendez-vous at Schuman, since protesters decided to organize, very quickly, a march in direction of European Parliament, two blocks away. In 10 minutes, they arrived at the back door of the building, chanting “Solidarity, solidarity with the people of the entire world”, and were faced policemen who were guarding the scene.
The number of protesters, in our view around 200 (although the local press counted 300/400), scared policemen who were in very small number and forgot about the two tunnels heading toward the square inside the building. A small clash between a police officer and a demonstrator put the crowd in anger. The policeman ran in direction to one of the tunnels and part of demonstrators followed him, while the rest entered the building trough the other tunnel.
While police re-enforcement was arriving, two arrests happened, as well as abusive use of tear-gassing, and violent beatings. A police officer confiscated the portable telephone of a man publishing a livestream of the scene, thus censoring it. In 20 minutes, the march started from Schuman Square to the insides of the European Parliament building. This square, the Euro-Parliament´s inner Square, was now occupied.
Once inside, the police very quickly built a ring around the people who, ignoring them, started a public assembly to discuss the role of safety corps in their current lives and causes of current inequality on human conditions all over the world. When an old woman of around 70, took the megaphone and said that she had a message for the young policemen present there, the crowd opened the way and let her be face to face with the ring of officers. She started a speech which touched everybody in the square, both police and people, saying she dreamed of this moment for all her life.
After 2 hours of chants, discussions and euphoria, a spokesperson announced that “After 22hs I will gas everybody”. The protesters, in assembly, decided that the best to do was a pacific retirement. Slowly, people started to leave the place but the line performed by the police intervention battalion of Brussels advanced fast, pressuring people to go away. The result: aggressions and again the abusive use of tear-gas. Half of Luxembourg Square, in front of the European Parliament, was sprayed – affecting pedestrians, customers and traffic. “One cannot throw tear-gas bombs over the youngsters and our clients from the Parliament like this. We are not in Syria!” said a man who was there, the owner of one the cafes of Luxembourg, to the local francophone newspaper Le Soir.
Here, white dressed woman – protected by police – takes photos of demonstrators.
And here, a police officer tries to confiscate the camera of a demonstrator.
http://bxl.indymedia.org/articles/2171 (independent media)
* A pursuit in Matonge
Police advanced in line across the different streets, evicting protesters – who at this point were split in small groups – from the block. It was night already, and after reuniting some blocks ahead, the march went in the direction of Matonge – a suburb of immigrants which had been usually blocked in the days of demonstrations. Arriving there, the march was very welcome and people joined the crowd. Stopping at Place Londres to discuss where to go and what to do, protesters saw themselves surrounded by police vans which were blocking the streets that lead to the square.
At one point the crowd panicked and started to run towards the only exit at la Rue de la Paix, when two vans and one car arrived and split the march in two big groups. There, I saw a young protester arrested violently – while running – in front of me. Re-enforcement arrived immediately and blocked the street in the middle, dividing the two groups of demonstrators, and with aggression performed around 20 arrests (no official data, was made public for around 2 hours, afterwards preventive arrest was alleged).
A fire-truck was called to spray water over the rest people and evict the area, while officers beat and gassed the crowd. In 20 minutes, Matonge was evicted and neighbours were asking themselves what really had happened. Next day, again, a woman living in the suburb said that “Policemen beat everyone. It was like Beirut!” to Le Soir local newspaper.
A hidden livestreaming reporter films 2 minutes of the action: