30/09/10, for immediate release
On Wednesday 29th September, an international demonstration took place in Brussels against the new European directives on economic austerity. According to our estimates 300 participants of the No Border Camp, which is taking place throughout the week in Brussels, were arrested preventatively at different locations in the city, on their way to the demonstration. A group of Brussels lawyers have prepared a complaint which is being delivered on Friday, demanding that free expression of opinion must be respected as a democratic right.
The police in Belgium have the right to arrest people preventatively when they are disturbing the public order. In this case people were arrested at random on the basis of their physical characteristics, simply for not matching the dress code advanced by the European trades unions who were mobilising for the demonstration. Many of the arrests were carried out with excessive violence.
"I was walking calmly in the street, and was arrested by police officers who asked for my identity papers. I gave them without any protest", declared one of the arrested people. "Without any explanation, they took me and locked me up. In the van I witnessed a policemen hitting a girl on the head and insulting her. When I wanted to intervene, he threatened me. This is unacceptable."
"It seems that the police have preventatively arrested a large amount of protesters on a random basis, against their fundamental rights", said lawyer Pierre Robert. "The right to demonstrate is protected by the European human rights treaty as well as by the Constitution."