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Protect The Protest: mobilizing against the “anti-breakers law”
published on 27 June 2023
On June 28, RainbowHouse joins the civil society-union coalition to protest against the Van Quickenborne bill.
In 2023, Brussels Pride has chosen to follow in the wake of Amnesty International’s “Protect The Protest” campaign. The NGO calls for vigilance at a time when many countries are rolling back the right to protest, while recalling the historic progress born of opposition to the authorities.
The LGBTQIA+ Pride Marches have their origins in a series of militant acts known as the Stonewall Riots, spontaneous reactions to institutional homophobia and transphobia in America in the 1960s.
Today, it’s becoming difficult to hear the voices of LGBTQIA+ people abroad when the mere mention of their existence is sometimes criminalized. This trend seems to be spreading, even to countries like the USA.
If Belgium can be considered a model in terms of legislation for LGBTQIA+ people, we still have many battles to fight in order to advance and preserve the rights of all LGBTQIA+ communities. So it’s important to mobilize to protect the right to protest.
At a time when the French government is attempting to silence all forms of opposition, and the Italian government is rolling back rights acquired by LGBTQIA+ people, RainbowHouse is taking very seriously the Belgian government’s desire to restrict the right to demonstrate through Justice Minister Van Quickenborne’s (Open Vld) proposed law, known as the anti-breakers law.
Does this law live up to its nickname? It’s not just aimed at rioters, but at all “protest gatherings” of at least 100 people. The term is vague enough to include a wide range of protest demonstrations, including any union or militant action.
A legal framework already exists to punish acts of damage and violence in the public space. It is the protest aspect that is targeted, and being an activist becomes an aggravating circumstance. Those caught by this law will be liable to the additional penalty of being banned from demonstrating, and will therefore be deprived of a fundamental right.
For all these reasons, RainbowHouse is joining the action on June 28 at 10am, Boulevard du Jardin Botanique in Brussels, in front of the office of the Minister of Justice, to call on members of parliament not to vote for this text, even if amended.
We invite our member associations and all those who share our commitments to join us.
The action is organized by FGTB, CSC, CGSLB, Greenpeace, Amnesty, CIRÉ, Ligue des Droits humains, Progress Lawyers Network, Solidaris and the associations of the Solidaris network, CEPAG, PAC, MOC, CNCD-11.11.11, Soralia, FOS, ABVV, ACV, ACLVB, Solidaris-Netwerk, Liga voor mensenrechten.