Brussels prepares for second Hi-Viz demonstration

The police in Brussels are busy preparing for Saturday’s planned demonstration by the Hi-Viz movement. Last Friday’s demonstration by Hi-Viz protests ended in violence. A call to stage a second Hi-Viz demonstration in the capital has been circulated on social media. 

With last Friday’s violence in mind the police are preparing for worst. However, the Brussels regional news site Bruzz reports that no one knows what “the worst” could actually by. Both the office of the Mayor of Brussels Philippe Close and the police have been unsuccessful in their attempts to contact the police.  

As the Hi-Viz movement is a loose collection of people people that are unhappy about, amongst other things, rising fuel prices, rather than an organisation in the classic sense of the word it is difficult to know what exactly will happen on Saturday. However, no request has been made to stage a demonstration.  

A spokersperson for Mr Close told Bruzz that "We haven’t approved nor refused to allow the demonstration to take place”.

"We shall monitor events minute by minute.

Meanwhile, the Brussel-Elsene Local Police Service Spokeswoman Ilse Van de keere says that the police are monitoring the HI-Viz movement on social media where inflammatory videos have been posted.     

One of these features a masked man that calles on potential participants “note to come in peace”.

"We are going to smash everything up. We are going to smash up the whole of Brussels” 

Act where necessary

Ms Van de keere says that the police are prepared for the worst. “We have got together with all the other local police services in Brussels, with Mayor Close and with the Federal Police Service. We will of course have a strong presence on the ground”.    

Nevertheless, the tone is also conciliatory.

"We have every understanding for people that want to come and express their opinion, but it should be done in an orderly fashion. It is self-evident that we will act if public order is threatened. We would of course prefer that this is not the case”.   

The police would first like to negotiate with the protesters to ensure that the demonstration is orderly.

“However, depending on their stance we will act where necessary”, Ms Van de keere concluded.