Belgium

At the October 14 local elections, the Workers’ Party of Belgium (PTB) made some breakthroughs.

PTB chair Peter Mertens said: “For the first time we have moved from an urban phenomenon mostly concentrated in Antwerp and Liège to a breakthrough in most large and medium-sized cities of Wallonia, the Brussels region and Flanders. The number of our local elected officials increases from 50 to 157.”

Trade unions across the globe mobilised on April 23 to demand the immediate release from prison of former Brazilian president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.

Thousands of protesters marched through Brussels on September 20 to demand the European Union abandon planned trans-Atlantic free trade deals they say will worsen labour conditions and allow big business to challenge governments.

It came just days after tens of thousands rallied against such deals on September 17 in other European cities, mainly in Germany.


Brussels, May 31.

Parts of Belgium came to a halt as transport strikes by public sectors workers intensified on May 31. Workers are protesting against the government's social and economic policies, which includes budget cuts.

By May 31, train drivers had been on strike for six consecutive days, causing serious disruptions in the capital of Brussels, where only limited services of buses, metros and trams were running.

Vice-Chair of the socialist Workers' Party of Belgium (PTB-PVDA) David Pestieau, spoke to French paper L'Humanite Dimanche on March 31 about the March 22 terrorist attacks in Brussels and the latest anti-terrorist bill. An abridged version, translated from French, is below.

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What state is Belgium in after the terrorist attacks?

A series of suicide bombings in Brussels on March 22 killed 35 people, including 3 suicide bombers. Less than a week later, on March 27, a similar attack in Lahore, Pakistan, killed more than twice as many people — at least 75.

The response from media and politicians amply illustrated the truism that Western lives matter more to them than those of people in Third World countries. The amount of reporting and expressions of condolences was, as is the norm, in inverse proportion to the numbers killed.

Grassroots groups across Europe are warning against succumbing to misguided and bigoted speech in the wake of the latest terrorist atrocity in Belgium.

Reacting to the terror attacks in Brussels on March 22, an Israeli state official echoed the typical narrative conflating Islam and terrorism, and the idea of a clash of a civilisation.


30,000 people marched in Vienna on August 31 to demonstrate against inhumane treatment of refugees.

In less than a fortnight a series of tragedies took place on the borders of Europe, spurring a continent-wide debate over refugee policy.

On August 26, about 200 refugees perished at sea as their ship capsized off the coast of Libya on its way to Italy.

The message from the mainstream media and parties across Europe is Greece is to blame for its own predicament. But a growing grass-roots movement across the continent is pushing for an alternative approach that demands democracy, not austerity.

In a speech to the Belgian parliament on June 10, conservative Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel declared that “the end of the Greek holiday has sounded.”


More than 5000 people rallied in Brussels on June 21.

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