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Police unions demonstrate in Brussels

The demonstrators called for measures to be taken to tackle crime in the capital. A union delegation met with the Justice Minister Stefaan De Clerck (Flemish Christian democrat), but was not happy with what the minister had to say. Further demonstrations and industrial action could follow.

Hundreds of police cars, police vans, bikes and motorcycles congregated on the Poelaertplein in front of the Brussels Courthouse, while a police helicopter circled above.

Philippe Van Hamme of the police union said that the location had not been chosen at random.

“As far as we’re concerned the problem is with the judiciary.”

“I’m not saying that the will isn’t there, but the zero tolerance measures won’t be able to be applied due to the shortage of staff.”

Meanwhile, Jan Schonkeren of the liberal police union VSOA told the VRT: "We already met with the Justice Department yesterday, but they failed to tell us anything new.”

“We weren’t given any solutions for structural problems such as the staffing shortage in Brussels.”

The protesters demanded better protection for police officers and a tougher line from the judiciary when dealing with street criminals.

They want the Justice Minister Stefaan De Clerck (CD&V) to provide extra judges so that street criminals can receive swift and effective punishment.

However, union representatives returned disappointed from their meeting with the Justice Minister.

They say Mr De Clerck didn’t offer anything new and that all of the measures he did come up with were already in the pipeline.