"15 billion for 34 fighter jets? Not with my tax money!"

A couple of hundred people demonstrated against the government's plans to buy 34 expensive fighter jets, to replace the old F-16 aircraft. Protesters claim the purchase is just too expensive, and ask for a public debate on the issue.

The umbrella organisation "No fighter jets" (which represents over a hundred players such as Greenpeace Belgium, and NGO's like Broederlijk Delen and Oxfam) organised a protest action in the Jubelpark. 

Demonstrators say a dangerous game is being played with an immense sum of tax money. "15 billion for 34 fighter jets? Not with my tax money", one of the banners said. They demand a broad debate within society about the issue. Among the protesters was the socialist lawmaker Dirk Van der Maelen, who is on the opposition benches. 

Beke: "This decision was taken a year ago"

Earlier today, the Flemish Christian democrat leader Wouter Beke said the decision to replace the F-16 jets (instead of giving them an update to extend their lifespan) was taken over a year ago. The procedure to purchase new jets is going on now, and should be completed first. "Then we can see whether all the demands are being met", he said.

Opponents say that the F35 fighter jets are still having teething troubles, and that it would be wiser to first extend the lifespan of the F-16 jets, which would be relatively cheap and give the government more time.