Climate protesters spend a second night camped out on a Brussels square

Dozens of climate activists have spent a second night camped out on a square near to the Royal Palace in Brussels. Their action started on Sunday evening with a demonstration in the street in front of the Federal Parliament, in the so-called “neutral zone” where demonstrations are banned. 

The police and the protesters reached an agreement whereby they were able to continue their action on the Troonplein near to the Royal Palace.

The climate activists want politicians in the Federal Parliament to vote to modify the Belgian constitution in such a way that it would oblige future governments to include effective measure to combat climate change in their programmes.  

Around 100 tents have been put up next to the Troonplein. On Tuesday morning a number of Hi-Viz (yellow vest) protesters joined the climate protesters. The climate changes measures that the protesters want would reduce Belgium’s emissions by 95% by 2050.    

However, with a number of parties having said that they have no intention of voting for the measures envisaged by the protesters it seems unlikely that they will become law.

Joeri Thijs of Greenpeace told VRT News that this is “incomprehensible”. He added that “It doesn’t often happen that for months on end tens of thousands of people take to the streets to protest about one issue: global warming. It is incomprehensible that the politicians have still not got the message”. 

Changes to the constitution

A select committee meeting about eventual changes to the constitution got under way at 10:15. The members of the committee will vote on whether the changes to the article 7 bis of the constitution can be made. An extra sentence must will have to be added to article 7 bis in order to incorporate the measures demanded by the climate protesters into the constitution.  

It is expected that a majority of the select committee members will vote to change the constitution and that the proposal will be passed on for approval by a plenary sitting of the Federal Parliament on Thursday. However’, it looks unlikely that the required two-third majority of all MPs and a majority of MPs from both the Dutch-speaking and Francophone language groups will vote for the measures.

The Flemish liberals, Flemish Christian democrats, the Flemish nationalists and the far-right Vlaams Belang have already said that they will vote against. 

Climate demonstration

Meanwhile, a climate demonstration got under at 10:30. The demonstration replaces the weekly Thursday demonstrations staged by Youth for Climate.