Council of State rules that “March against Marrakech” can go ahead

The Council of State has suspended a decision taken earlier this week by the Mayor of Brussels Philippe Close and the First Minister of the Brussels-Capital Region Rudi Vervoort (both Francophone socialist) to ban a protest against the UN Migration Pact taking place in Brussels on Sunday. The organisers asked the Council of State for an injunction that would suspend the ban, allowing the so-called “March Against Marrakech” to take place. 

The ruling means that they will be allowed to stage a “static protest” on the Schuman Square in the heart of Brussels’ European District. The organisers’ Spokesman Filip Brusselmans told VRT News that “We are satisfied with the ruling. Everything will be able to take place in a normal fashion and we have been given back our democratic rights”. A planned counted demonstration will also be allowed to take place.

The plans for the “March Against Marrakech" were announced by a number of right-wing organisations earlier this week. They wished to use the demonstration to express their displeasure at the UN Migration Pact that was accepted at a meeting in Marrakesh on Monday.

On Friday evening the Council of State ruled that the ban on the demonstration taking place should be suspended. The Council of State motivated its decision by station that the reasoning behind the ban appeared at first reading to lack sufficiently strong motives.

The offices of First Minister Vervoort and Mayor Close have reacted to the Council of State’s decision in a joint statement.

"In consultation with the Mayor of the City of Brussels Philippe Close we have given the police service the task of accompanying the demonstration. The police will use all measures necessary to maintain order in on Brussels’ territory”.  

Both Mr Vervoort and Mr Close call on the demonstrators to remain calm and say that violence will not be tolerated.