Taking the Belgian State and Brussels Police to court

Next week will be the first day of the trial of the Belgian government and the Brussels police, brought by myself and four others preemptively arrested on 29 September 2010, before and during the major European trade union demonstration in Brussels. That day, about 300 people were arrested, present at this demonstration or on their way to it, just because the police found they looked “alternative”.

I was on the way to the demonstration of the No Border Camp at the Tour & Taxis site, along with a group of clowns from the Rebel Clown Army. I joined them, even though I was not dressed as a clown, because there were already reports circulating of arrests on the way to the demonstration, I thought I would be safer in a group. On the platform of subway station Ribaucourt we were surrounded by police, when asked why they answered only “for your own safety.”

The police closed the metro station, apparently because they were afraid their actions could provoke reactions from onlookers in what I overheard some of them call a “problematic neighbourhood”. We were handcuffed with plastic straps and put in a row, our legs spread. On my question why, I was snarled at if I didn’t have anything better to do than to waste police’s time by demonstrating. Followed by comments about my hair and how it stank and I surely never washed it.

In a police bus, we were taken to the police barracks in Etterbeek, where we are put in a large holding cell. There we were anything but alone, these and other cells are overcrowded with people arrested at or on their way to the demonstration, sometimes very harshly. Apparently, the entire block of the demonstration that was billed as being part of the No Border camp was separated from the rest of the rally by plainclothes agents, using batons and pepper spray.

The rest of the day we spend in this cell, and after being administratively processed in other cells. Until around midnight, when the demonstration had already been disbanded for many hours, when we were first required to be photographed and then in a police bus dropped back near Tour & Taxis.

Only in the weeks afterwards it dawned on me that both the police chief and interior minister thought all of this was completely justifiable. Testimonies in the media about physical and mental violence, for instance by Marianne Maeckelbergh, were met by police with the threat of a libel suit. That there were many witnesses, photographs and video seemed of no importance.

That the police can terrorize people on such a large scale, that this appears to be a planned action against the No Border Camp and anyone who the police deemed part of it. That Interior Minister Annemie Turtelboom’s answer to a parliamentary question about the police action was that it was “necessary, proportionate and effective.” All these things leave me with no other conclusion than that I live in a police state.

Hence my personal reason to join the lawsuit against the Belgian State and the Brussels police. A legal road that start only now, four years after the facts and will probably drag on for several years, if necessary, to the European level.

No Border Trial – Call To Gathering

Wednesday, October 22, 2014
Place Poelaert – Poelaertplein, Brussels 8.15 am

Video of arrestations on 29 September 2010:

Between September 26 and October 1, 2010 Brussels hosted several demonstrations as well as a NoBorder Camp on the theme of freedom of movement.
During this period some 450 so-called preventive arrests were made by the police. Just for the 29 September 2010 on the occasion of a European trade union demonstration, about 300 people were arrested. The police targets were anyone suspected to be taking part in the NoBorder Camp. A huge police deployment spread over the town and without valid reason, people were controlled, searched and administratively detained. No trouble or offense other than the fact of being there and being dressed suspiciously could be held against them. The arrests were almost systematically along with harassment, humiliations and even physical and mental abuse.

Five victims, arrested for their ideas, have decided to introduce civil proceedings at the trial Court of Brussels against the Belgian State as well as the Brussels-Ixelles Police Zone for arbitrary preventive arrests.

The right to protest is guaranteed by the Constitution and the use of intimidation and arrests against peaceful demonstrators is reminiscent of police state methods.

Let’s be many to show our solidarity with the five victims who represents all the others at the first hearing that wil be held on Wednesday, October 22, 2014 at the Palais de Justice in Brussels.

To contribute financially to this costly action:
Bank account
IBAN BE51 8804 9555 5162
BIC: HBKA BE 22
V A K, B-9000 Gent

From 1 pm after the hearing at the First Instance Court

Evaluation meeting 4 years after where do we stand with repression ?

Presentations and discussions

Planned presentations

  • Lawyers : state of the various No Border trials
  • GMO potato pluckers : what’s the repression situation today?
  • Alliance D19-20 Action: arrests on May 15, 2013: even unionists have their turn ?
  • Calais: current situation against activists

Discussion and projects
This will be a friendly and constructive reunion
Welcome to all!

Address : L’eau chaude – 25, rue des Renards – 1000 Brussels (close to the Palais de justice , near the Place du Jeu de Balle)

http://www.noborderbxl.eu.org/

Watching “Miners Shot Down”

Watching Miners Shot Down and it’s giving me goosebumps. After spending 7 months in South Africa I feel I’ve only scratched at the surface, only started to understand this country in all it’s complexity. It is not black and white, it is much more intricate than that. The role of Cyril Ramaphosa in the Marikana story is but one example of this. It is strange to notice how much I feel for South Africa and hope the people can overcome the great challenges of inequality, poverty, violence, corruption. Even in this documentary about one of the darkest and saddest episodes in South Africa’s recent history, somehow I see glimpses of hope that South Africans can overcome these problems.

Someone asked me about the Telecomix …

220px-Telecomix

Someone asked me about the Telecomix sticker on my laptop last weekend, he was confused by the mix of symbols. Here’s what Telecomix is about: http://telecomix.org/ and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Telecomix

#telecomix #netactivism #datalove #cryptoanarchism #cryptoanarchy #ciphernetics #symbol

Aidez-nous à éviter l’élargissement du Ring autour de Bruxelles! – Help ons om de verbreding van de Ring rond Brussel te vermijden !

Nederlandstalige versie onderaan.

Aidez-nous à éviter l’élargissement du Ring autour de Bruxelles!

Rudi Vervoort annonçait lors d’un lunch avec la presse (9/1/2013) que selon lui, « l’élargissement du Ring serait aussi dans l’intérêt de Bruxelles ». Notamment pour mieux desservir le futur projet NEO sur le plateau du Heysel, en voiture bien entendu, et afin d’éviter l’engorgement de Bruxelles. Est-ce que Rudi Vervoort compte organiser un salon de l’auto permanent au Heysel ? Aidez-nous à éviter que Rudi Vervoort s’égare du droit chemin!

Est-ce que Rudi Vervoort prépare déjà son bêtisier 2014 ? Les études commandées par la Région Flamande pour l’élargissement du Ring démontrent clairement que c’est plutôt un péage urbain qui évitera l’engorgement de Bruxelles, et que l’impact de l’élargissement n’aidera nullement la fluidité du trafic automobile à Bruxelles.

C’est ce que Charles Picqué avait déjà bien compris, lui qui s’est déclaré le 16 février 2012, devant les caméras, opposé à cet élargissement qui «va à l’encontre des ambitions de faire de Bruxelles une ville où il fait bon vivre»

Rudi Vervoort déforce d’ailleurs les propres arguments de Bruxelles : Bruxelles prétend que le projet NEO a l’avantage d’avoir une bonne connexion en transports en commun, contrairement au mégashopping Uplace à Machelen. D’ailleurs, les plans du gouvernement flamand pour élargir le Ring autour de Bruxelles s’inscrivent dans l’intention de réaliser le projet Uplace. Il faut rappeler que le projet Uplace est autant contesté en Région Flamande qu’à Bruxelles. Alors les affirmations de Rudi Vervoort seraient-elles plutôt liées à un deal avec la Flandre concernant un stade de foot national sur le parking C, propriété de Bruxelles mais situé en territoire flamand ?

Le Bral lance un appel aux citoyens :  opposez-vous à la politique du tout-au-béton ! Organisons la résistance !

Nous avons quelques idées, mais vous  aussi sans doute!

Si vous êtes chaud, prenez contact au plus vite avec jeroen@bralvzw.be

Rudi Can’t Fail!

Help ons om de verbreding van de Ring rond Brussel te vermijden !

Rudi Vervoort kondigde tijdens een perslunch (op 9/01/2014) aan dat “ook Brussel belang heeft bij het verbreden van de Ring” In het bijzonder voor een betere bereikbaarheid van het toekomstige NEO project op het Heyselplateau, met de auto wel te verstaan, en om het onbereikbaar worden van Brussel te vermijden. Wilt Rudi Vervoort een permanent autosalon organiseren op de Heysel? Help ons te vermijden dat Rudi Vervoort het rechte pad verlaat!

Bereidt Rudi Vervoort al zijn bloopers voor 2014 voor ?

De studies die werden uitgevoerd voor de uitbreiding van de Ring in opdracht van de Vlaamse regering tonen duidelijk aan dat het eerder een stadstol is die zal vermijden dat Brussel onbereikbaar wordt, en dat de uitbreiding van de Ring op geen enkele manier zal helpen om het verkeer binnen Brussel vlotter te maken.

Dat had Charles Picqué al goed begrepen. Voor de camera’s uitte hij zich op 16 februari 2012 als een tegenstander van de verbreding, die “indruist tegen de ambities om van Brussel een leefbare stad te maken”

Rudi Vervoort ontkracht trouwens de eigen argumenten van de Brusselse regering : Brussel beweert dat het NEO project het voordeel heeft goed bereikbaar te zijn met het openbaar vervoer, in tegenstelling tot het mégashoppingproject Uplace in Machelen.

Bovendien kaderen de plannen van de Vlaamse regering voor de verbreding van de Ring rond Brussel in het voornemen om het Uplace project te realiseren.

Nochtans is het Uplace project even omstreden in Vlaanderen als in Brussel. Waarschijnlijk houdt de aankondiging van Rudi Vervoort eerder verband met een politieke koehandel waarbij Brussel een nationaal stadium mag bouwen op Parking C, hetwelke eigendom is van de stad Brussel maar op Vlaams grondgebied ligt?

Bral lanceert een oproep naar alle burgers : Verzet u tegen het betondenken! Organiseer het verzet!

Wij hebben al enkele ideeën, maar u zonder twijfel ook !

Als u al warm loopt, neem dan zo snel mogelijk contact op met jeroen@bralvzw.be

Rudi Can’t Fail!

The other side of Cape Town

I have written a lot about how beautiful Cape Town and South Africa are, how much I love this place and it’s people. I have written nothing on the other side of it, because it is invisible to me, because I choose not to see it. At the Anarchist Bookfair last Saturday I got a big reality check, hearing the story of grass-root social activists of Abahlali baseMjondolo, the South African shackdwellers’ movement.

Gugulethu, Philippi, Nyanga, Khayelitsha are not just places I as a white, middle class European tourist don’t go to. These are places I choose not to know exist. These are places without electricity, running water, sanitation. The people who stand up against eviction and for land, housing and dignity are attacked by the police, shot, killed.

While on the Atlantic seaboard people enjoy the good life in their villa’s, on the other side of Table Mountain, others live in the worst possible conditions. I would like to pretend I am somewhere in the middle of those two extreme’s. I’m not, I am filthy rich compared to the people living in shacks on the Cape Flats. When the police shoot them for standing up for their right to a decent life, they shoot to protect my middle class interests.

“If you want to show solidarity with us, come to our township, buy a shack, live in it.” Saying this to the white middle class anarchists at the bookfair last Saturday, the angry young black man knew nobody would come live in Khayelitsha. Nobody would choose to live in these conditions. But we will not change the shackdwellers’ living conditions just by donating some stuff or by sending an NGO to help.

I do not know myself how I can truly help, for now I can only share the stories of their struggle:

Shining Eyes

A few years back, at the anarchist book-fair in Ghent, a woman (forgot her name, she was publisher of anarchist books from London) was talking about freedom and how she had seen it in the eyes of indigenous people in Canada when she visited them to see how they defend their freedom against the Canadian government and corporations. I recognized what she said, I had also seen it in people’s eyes and felt what it meant. There are more and more shining eyes, eyes that have seen the world as it should be, a world where we are al truly free. And the shine is their eyes is the most beautiful thing you’ve ever seen.

Shining Eyes | Adbusters Culturejammer Headquarters.

World Naked Bike Ride / Cyclonudista

It’s about time for the World Naked Bike Ride in this part of the world, being the Northern hemisphere. In Brussels we call it Cyclonudista (after the Spanish counterpart) but the idea is the same: riding trough the city naked (or as bare a s you dare): Saturday 15 June, departure at 15h on Square Frère-Orban www.cyclonudista.be
Cyclonudista Brussels 2013 banner

The Northern Hemisphere World Naked Bike Ride is coming up soon.
Oh so much fun.

If you are planning a ride and would like to communicate with other WNBR organizers please join this discussion list.
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/WNBR-Coordinators/
Also please add the event info to the wiki website
http://wiki.worldnakedbikeride.org/

The World Naked Bike Ride, the most fun of the year by far.

Cyclonudista Brussels 15 June

As we’re getting closer to summer it’s getting hotter in Brussels, not that hot at yet the moment, but still, hot enough to take off all our clothes and get on a bike. Yes, next month, on Saturday June 15th, it’s time for the Cyclonudista again, an event which is know in most other places as the World Naked Bike Ride. And it is just that: riding your bike naked. Believe me, it’s as much fun as you can have without you clothes on. This will be the ninth naked bike ride in Brussels, so it’s becoming sort of a tradition, to know more about the Brussels Cyclonudista check out www.cyclonudista.be, for more on the history of the World Naked Bike Ride check out worldnakedbikeride.org. See you there!