Police detain 13-year-old climate protester

Police in the town of Lier (Antwerp) detained a 13-year-old boy, who wanted to take the train to Brussels to take part in the "Play Truant for the Climate" protests together with 35,000 other schoolchildren and students.  The police say that they intervened at the wishes of his school management that denies any such request.  Lier police stages regular operations targeting truants.

Lier police say that local cafés are the main target of their anti-truancy operations and that that also happened last Thursday.  The boy was detained at Lier Station and the police argue they were not simply targeting pupils eager to join in the climate protest.  "The boy was hanging around at the station" says Magalie Derboven of Lier police.  "Our officers contacted the school and a joint decision was taken to return the lad to school."

The child's school isn't impressed by the police account of what happened.  Veerle Bernaerts, the boy's school head: "We were not in contact with the police.  It's strange that precisely on a day of such climate protests that truancy checks are carried out at the station.  The lad had a leaflet about the demo in his hand!"

The boy's father told VRT News that the police intervention had left a mark on his lad.