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Tyre Extinguishers: Anti-SUV activists deflate tyres in Ixelles

14:30 04/03/2023

Activists calling themselves the "Tyre Extinguishers" deflated the tyres of 41 SUVs parked in Ixelles overnight this week.

The targeted vehicles were in the neighbourhood around Etterbeek-Ixelles hospital, Bruzz reports.

The activists claim responsibility for the action, explaining that their aim is to bring awareness to the dangers of increasingly bigger cars, a trend once contained to the US but now creeping into Europe, with its much narrower road infrastructure.

“We have done this because driving in urban areas in your very large vehicles has huge negative consequences for others,” the activists explained.

Because the majority of cars on the road in Europe remain small for now, accidents involving oversized vehicles such as SUVs and popular American cars are often fatal for the driver in the smaller vehicle.

The larger vehicles also have a much higher environmental footprint and contribute to the pollution problem in Brussels, activists argue.

The Tyre Extinguishers originated in the UK and the movement is active in a number of countries around the world.

The recent action in Brussels is not the first. In 2005, climate activists deflated the tyres of heavy cars on Avenue de la Toison d'Or.

Vehicle-owners whose tyres were deflated were left with a pamphlet explaining: “Your SUV kills. Don't take this personally. It’s not you, but it is your car. We have done this because driving in urban areas in your very large vehicles has huge negative impacts on others.”

They explain that these negative impacts include public safety as well as emissions and noise pollution.

The activists' website includes instructions on how to properly deflate tyres, and urges fellow activists to “avoid cars belonging to people with disabilities and vehicles of traders, even if they are big”.

The Tyre Extinguishers are active in at least 16 countries, including the US, France, Germany and the Netherlands.

Written by Helen Lyons