600+ Arrested in Belgium
Code Rouge activists from around the world converged on a Belgum airport for two days in a non-violent bid to end private jets, stop airport expansion, and curtail unfair competition and job loss due to cheap imported goods.
The activists used a swarming strategy, similar to other recent swarm actions in Europe, where identities are concealed by masks and uniform clothing, and a massive number of people attempt to rush into position and occupy until they are removed. Not everyone can make it into position, but some do.
Chloé Mikolajczak, a Code Rouge spokesperson, said, “Hundreds of activists chose today to civilly disobey the increasingly polluting aviation industry, but they were not even given the chance to do so. The pre-emptively arrested activists represent the voice of the 75% of the population who believe that aviation subsidies should be eliminated. These subsidies mainly benefit a minority of the ultra-rich and their private jets. It is striking to note that citizens are criminalized here, while the Belgian authorities themselves have just been convicted twice for violating the human rights of their own citizens through negligent climate policy. The fact that so many concerned citizens have chosen today to appeal to their right to demonstrate gives us hope, and the repression by the police shows that this is increasingly necessary,"
The Code Rouge managed to occupy several shipping areas, as well as the private jet runway, shutting down activity for the full day. In a surprise move, the group had a second flank, which threw off authorities even more, making their occupation a move on two fronts which made their removal even more difficult. In total over a 1000 people were involved in the occupation movement.
Edgar Szoc, president of the Human Rights League and legal observer told Code Rouge, “The police officer who arrested me said, ‘I saw clearly that you were not participating in the action and that you didn't do anything, but you were filming and if you have images that can be used against us, you are going to do it. You have a choice: either you delete the images or you are arrested.’"
Several activists received injuries, and there are reports of a broken arm. In one video, an officer can be seen attacking non-violent protesters near the edge of the swarm with a baton, however, with 100s of activists and only a few officers, it’s unclear why they felt the need to cause injuries.
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