Today’s 15 May European Business Summit in Brussels: massive repression and right to protest stifled

18 May 2014 by CADTM Belgique

Today, Thursday 15 May 2014, l’Alliance D19-20 and the network Alter Summit called for an encirclement of the Egmont Palace in Brussels, the venue of the European Business Summit.

This alliance which was founded in 2013 brings together, farmers, unions, associations, workers with or without employment, citizens from all walks of life and divers collectives that have for common goal to resist the TTIP [1] (Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership) and austerity measures [2].

The European Business Summit was to bring together political personalities such as Karel De Gucht (European Commissioner for trade who leads the European negotiation team and was recently involved in tax evasion proceedings), Guy Verhofstadt (liberal candidate to the presidency of the European Commission), Didier Reynders (ex Belgian Minister of Finance) and other European and International elected representatives, with big multi-national business leaders whose avowed objective was to influence European leaders before the upcoming European elections. On the agenda were free market access, financialisation of the economy, banking union, European energy strategies, competitiveness etc.

CADTM and its activists were present among a good thousand of other demonstrators concerned by the general interest Interest An amount paid in remuneration of an investment or received by a lender. Interest is calculated on the amount of the capital invested or borrowed, the duration of the operation and the rate that has been set. and determined, to bother the tranquillity of these different powers and to voice their anger at open market access and austerity policies applied in our countries to further exploit the workers and to grab the natural resources.

From the start, the citizens right to demonstrate against this kind of meeting was violated by the authorities who refused authorization for any demonstrations save one gathering at Poelart place and a march along a previewed itinerary, well away from the meeting place and the ears of the meeting’s participants. L’Alliance engaged its responsibilities by informing the police of its objective of encircling the palace and making entry difficult. It took only an hour for police forces to smash the event and arrest 281 people, about one third of the demonstrators, three of whom were CADTM activists [3].

We strongly denounce this repression and this non respect of the citizens’ right to demonstrate his (or her) disapprobation. This highly political attitude has become the general rule in the European capital over the last few months. Whatever the attitude of these so called “public authorities” towards social dissent we will continue the struggle against the stranglehold on the future of the richest 1% an immediate end to austerity measures, the repayment of our countries public debts as well as creating a real public and democratic forum on the TTIP.

We are very pleased to see and support the European Days of Action « May of Solidarity » Lanced by the Blockupy network and others, and its call for the creation of a grass roots democracy. This week of action has commenced from the 15 May and will continue until 23 May. We need the support and participation of all for this slogan to become a reality.

Remark: a press conference will take place to discuss Thursday’s events, on Tuesday 20 May at 10a.m. at the International Press Center - Salle Maelbeek - 155 rue de la Loi, Bloc C - Brussels

To join l’Alliance: individuals may sign the petition on the site and organisations should send a mail to info at


[1For more details, see: “Stop au grand marché transatlantique (No ! To the big Transatlantic market)”(in French only)

[2For more details, see: the report of the first demonstration in December: “Alliance D19-20, une étape réussie pour la convergence des luttes contre l’austérité en Belgique et en Europe

Other articles in English by CADTM Belgique (11)

0 | 10



8 rue Jonfosse
4000 - Liège- Belgique

00324 60 97 96 80