The demonstrations followed a call by Belgian Youth against Racism to protest in cities across the country. The demonstration in Antwerp in Antwerp was held despite not been authorised by the city authorities or the police.
At the last minute the location for the demonstration was switched from the Groenplaats to the Steenplein. Social distancing was upheld throughout the protest.
900 protesters in Ghent
In Ghent around 900 people protested against racism and police violence. The protesters assembled at around 12:30pm at the statue of King Albert I in the city’s Zuid Park. Each of then placed a hoe at the foot of the statue. Although the demonstration was banned the police didn’t intervene. The organisers will probably been fined for having organised an illegal demonstration. Under the measures to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus all demonstrations are currently banned.
Gilles Mbiye-Beya of Youth against Racism told VRT News that “Normally it had been the intention that everyone would just leave their shoe at the statue and that we would then make our speeches on Instagram, but everyone just stayed where they were. Everyone could see that it remained peaceful. Everyone remained calm, upheld social distancing and wore a mouth mask. Later I will clean the statue where people ave written slogans on it in chalk”.
After the speeches followed 8 minutes and 46 seconds of applause. This was the time during which a police officer in the American city of Mineapolis stood on the neck of George Floyd before he died.