Disruptions as angry policemen take to the streets
Members of the Belgian police force are staging a big demonstration in Brussels, after the Constitutional Court ruled that every employee will have to work until 62 years of age at least.
The demonstration will come to an end around 2pm; major disruptions are expected in Brussels traffic.
Members of the police were enjoying a special pension framework, until the government decided that everyone will have to work longer to keep the pension system in Belgium sustainable.
The Constitutional Court eventually set 62 as the minimum retirement age.
Police officers close to retirement were promised special measures to soften the pain, but these have not been worked out yet.
The protest action is about much more than just retirement though, police trades unions explain.
It's also about work pressure – which is only expected to become worse as a stop was announced in hiring new people – and benefits for working during the weekend.
Heavy disruption possible until 2pm
The demonstration creates a bizarre situation, as police officers responsible for keeping an eye on things will be confronted with their colleagues.
It was, obviously, hard to find staff willing to work today.
Some 250 policemen are being confronted with an estimated bunch of 8,000 angry colleagues. "However, they do have water cannons and one helicopter", Vincent Houssin of the VSAO trades union explains.
The demonstration started at the Brussels North Station around 10am and should come to an end around 2pm at the Jubelpark site.
Traffic and public transport services could be (heavily) disrupted.
Flandersnews.be / Expatica