Plans include the removal of both the cobblestones and the trees, the roots of which have damaged the surface of the road, to make way for asphalt and paths for bicycles and pedestrians. Local residents have been staging sitins and other protests for weeks to save both the cobblestones and the trees.
The court decision came hours after complaints were filed by environmental groups claiming that the government’s permits are not in order. Brussels minister for public works Brigitte Grouwels (CD&V) dismisses such claims and hopes to continue the works as soon as possible.
Both the Flemish and Frenchspeaking green parties – Groen! and Ecolo – are accused of mutiny now that they’ve publicly sided with the protesters, although they voted in favour of the project not one year ago, when it was unanimously approved in parliament. Grouwels, in the meantime, has been receiving death threats and other unflattering commentary. “The protests are really getting out of hand,” she said, after she had received an envelope at her home address containing a piece of tree bark.