Anti-Marrakesh group to march on Sunday, despite lack of permit


Several right-wing youth groups will go ahead with the March Against Marrakesh on Sunday in Brussels, in direct opposition to the decision by the mayor and minister-president

‘We must raise our voices’

The Brussels-Capital Region has denied a request by far-right groups to stage a march against the UN’s Global Compact on Migration, but the groups say they are going to march anyway. Protestors are planning to meet at noon on Sunday in front of Central Station.

According to the Facebook event post, the March Against Marrakesh is being organised by 10 Flemish groups, including student club KVHV, Vlaams Belang Youth and Schild & Vrienden. They are protesting prime minister Charles Michel’s decision to support the migration pact, which led to the N-VA walking out of the federal government at the weekend.

The march is being organised, it says, because “our politicians no longer represent the voice of the people. That is why we must raise our voices, louder than ever before. We need to show the Wetstraat what people really care about. United we stand to say no to a new wave of mass-migration, no to politicians who neglect public opinion.”

The Brussels region refused to grant a permit for the march, and topped it off by denying all requests for marches on Sunday. A climate march was also planned, as was a counter-protest against the anti-Marrakesh group.

Police will act to ‘respect ban’

The minister-president of the capital region, Rudi Vervoort, made the decision with Brussels-City mayor Philippe Close to ensure that the march could not simply move to another Brussels municipality. Both men are concerned that the march could lead to riots, especially in light of the other two planned protests.

The March Against Marrakesh is taking the Brussels officials’ decision to the Council of State in an attempt to get it overturned. Time is short, however, and spokesperson Filip Brusselmans says they will march regardless.

“We will march on Sunday against the Compact on Migration, regardless of the ban,” he told VRT. “We are basing the decision on the right to assemble and the right to free speech. We are not interested in a confrontation with police.”

They are going to attack transmigrants in Maximiliaan Park. They already announced this on Facebook

- Axel Farkas

They might not have a choice, however, as Vervoort said that, while the organisers of the march  have the right to appeal the decision to the Council of State, “if that is rejected, the police will do everything in their power to see that the ban on this march is respected”. Vervoort and Close made the decision to reject the request for a permit in consultation with the police.

The organisers of the counter-protest, meanwhile, told Bruzz that, as they also were not granted a permit, they might cancel their march. They are concerned, however, about the safety of migrants in Brussels on Sunday.

According to counter-protest organisers Stroming voor een Antikapitalistisch Project, there are calls on Facebook to inflict violence on migrants. “It’s not the right-wing organisations but the extreme-right, fascist and violent groups that want to destroy everything,” said spokesperson Axel Farkas. “They are going to attack transmigrants in Maximiliaan Park. They already announced this on Facebook. We are calling for people to be vigilant.”

They are also calling for citizens to take migrants into their homes on Sunday, “so they can remain safe this weekend and stay away from the violence.”

The climate march organisers, meanwhile, said that their event would be held in January, though did not specify a day.

Photo: Members of student group KVHV during an event in Ghent last year. The group is heading up the March Against Marrakesh
©Nicolas Maeterlinck/BELGA