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Police protest at King’s Day Te Deum

Like every year Belgium is marking King’s Day with the traditional Te Deum at St Michael’s Cathedral in Brussels.  Police officers seized this opportunity to protest against the government's backtracking on a pay deal and the fatal stabbing of a police officer in Schaarbeek (Brussels) last week.

Old King Albert and Queen Paola were joined by their children, Princess Astrid, Prince Lorenz, Prince Laurent and Princess Claire.  By convention the reigning monarch, i.e. King Filip, does not attend. Government ministers too were present but entered b-via the backdoor to miss the protests.

Police officers voiced their concerns ahead of the ceremony holding high placards stating “No respect for the police” and “Government=unreliable”.  Earlier the government also decided not to implement wage increases that had been agreed.

Police unions are seeking the resignation of justice minister Van Quickenborne following the attack in Schaarbeek in which one officer was killed and a second injured.

King’s Day has moved around a lot over the years.  Originally it was on King Leopold I’s birthday, 16 December.  Under King Leopold II it moved to 15 November, his name day in the Germanic liturgy.  Albert I moved it to his name day on 26 November, but when his mother died on that day there was a return to 15 November. 

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