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At least 25,000 join Brussels climate march
At least 25,000 people took to the streets of Brussels on Sunday for a march to demand action over the climate crisis.
There have been many marches calling for action on climate change, but the focus of this one was more specifically on the need for solidarity with other countries outside of Europe, furthering the transition to green energy such as wind and solar, and establishing sustainable food systems.
“The unpayable energy bills that affect us all, the poverty into which even working families are plunged, the agricultural crisis, the burnt land and decimated crops... These are all consequences of the crises linked to a world dependent on oil and gas,” said Nicolas Van Nuffel, president of the Climate Coalition.
“We can no longer do business as usual. Nor can we pretend it is too late. There is still time to act. That time is now.”
Organisers Climate Coalition estimated the total number of participants in the climate march at 30,000, including representatives of 96 different citizens’ associations.
The march started at Brussels North station and made its way up the Boulevard du Jardin Botanique and the Avenue des Arts to the Rue de la Loi, ending at Cinquantenaire park.
Marchers played music and chanted slogans such as “we are hotter than the climate”, “change the policy, not the climate”, “there is no Planet B” and “how many more crises before action is taken?”
Kenyan activist Elizabeth Wathuti and a Brazilian delegation were at the head of the march, and emphasising that these parts of their world are the most affected by the climate crisis.
“The success of the Climate March, year after year, proves to what extent climate change is a concern for Belgians,” the Climate Coalition said at the end of the demonstration.
“The political world cannot remain deaf to this call. The Climate Coalition demands ambitious and united measures, now.”
Organisers and participants are looking specifically towards the International Climate Conference that will take place from 6 to 18 November in Sharm-el-Sheikh, Egypt.
But they also have concrete ideas for action here in Belgium, including a tax on the excess profits of energy companies, a housing and energy pact, better infrastructure for green transport such as bicycles and support for Belgium’s farming community.
“Mobilisations work – if we hadn't mobilised in 2018 and 2019, we wouldn't have had the commitments we've seen in recent years,” Van Nuffel said, noting that many politicians and professional organisations from various sectors participated in Sunday’s march, including associations representing farmers.
“But the commitments must be put into practice. What we want is concrete action on our housing, cycle paths, transport and support for the agricultural world.”