On Saturday 27 June, hundreds of citizens will come to Brussels for a day of action ending with a big gathering at the foot of the Finance Tower. With this unauthorised protest, where all rules of physical distancing will be respected, Extinction Rebellion wants to reclaim the space for citizens to voice their concerns and deliver citizens' demands for a resilient future to those in power.
"We are at a tipping point in history. We don't want to rush back to normal", says Valerio, spokesperson for Extinction Rebellion Belgium. "We need to take a pause and reflect on what our real needs are for the future. Do we want to go back to a system based on fossil fuels, industrial agriculture, exploitation of people and structural racism? Or do we want a resilient future that acknowledges the urgency of the multiple crises we are facing?"
During this act of civil disobedience called "Our Future, Our Choices" members of 18 different local Extinction Rebellion groups will literally take a pause by 'freezing' in the public space. This collective 'freeze' will be repeated two times in the pedestrian zone, ending at the Finance Tower. There, the activists will hold an inauguration ceremony to rename the building as Resilience Tower.
The police informed Extinction Rebellion in a preliminary meeting that they will not tolerate gatherings with more than 20 people. "Since our action will respect all sanitary measures it doesn't pose a risk to public health. Our government should curb the spreading of the coronavirus, not the right to protest. Decisions on our future are taken now, so we also need to act now!"
The day of action will start at 15:00h with a collective 'freeze' at Bourse. Participants will stand still for 15 minutes at minimum 5 meters distance from each other holding green and red placards. The red placards display what we as a society want to abandon or overcome, the green ones what we would like to keep and nurture. The action will be repeated at Rue Neuve at 16:00h and at the Finance Tower at 17:00h.
"This enormous glass tower houses the vital ministries of Finance, Health and Migration. By changing its name from Finance Tower to Resilience Tower we urge our governments to move away from a single focus on the wellbeing of our economy towards the wellbeing of all people."
After the inauguration ceremony the participants of the action will walk, one by one at a safe distance, towards Rue de la Loi 16 to deliver the placards at the office of prime minister Sophie Wilmès.
Program of the inauguration ceremony:
17h00 Welcome and introductory address
17h05 Presentation of the new name
17h10 Speeches (representatives from the civil society introducing their choices for a resilient society)
17h35 Delivery of Our Choices to the Prime Minister
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Journalists are invited to attend a press briefing which will be held outside the Finance Tower in Brussels on Monday, June 22nd, at 2.30pm. Please contact Lyllou on +32 471 29 66 90 to confirm your attendance.
For more information:
In English: Valerio +32 493 81 38 36
In French: Pauline +32 476 35 25 38, César +32 473 76 89 82
In Dutch: Leen +32 486 37 73 23, Bo +32 497 15 70 72, Seba +32 472 58 14 48
In German: Tobias +32 486 88 31 37