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demonstrations against the closure of theaters (IMAGES) – RT in French
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demonstrations against the closure of theaters (IMAGES) – RT in French
| Local News | abc News

The efforts of the Belgian authorities to try to slow the progression of the Omicron variant by closing the theaters are not being passed on in the world of culture, which has organized several demonstrations.

Several thousand people, 5,000 according to the police, demonstrated on December 26 in Brussels to protest against the closure of performance halls imposed by the authorities to stem the spread of the Omicron variant.

“No to this stupid decree!”, “Unlike finance, culture enriches us”, “No culture, no future” proclaimed signs in the gathering. Some demonstrators wore carnival masks, in a good-natured atmosphere where French and Dutch speakers mingled.

The gathering, under a fine rain, lasted about two hours, at the foot of the Mont des Arts, the museum district of the Belgian capital. The demonstrators dispersed without incident in the middle of the afternoon, according to an AFP journalist.

A precautionary measure

Perched on a platform, officials of major Brussels cultural institutions, such as the Royal Flemish Theater (KVS) and the La Monnaie opera house, called on politicians to “reconsider” the decision to close theaters as of December 26. This was presented on December 22 as a precautionary measure against the Omicron variant.

Yet the 4th wave of the pandemic continues to ebb in Belgium, the absolute numbers of infections have been declining for three weeks, and the experts who advise the government had not recommended at this stage a new turn of the screw for culture despite the situation. strained in hospitals.

Once again we are deepening inequalities and access to culture

Speaking of “inconsistency” or even “aberration”, several health experts have publicly denounced this decision, considered all the more surprising as cafes and restaurants can remain open throughout the country under certain conditions.

“Once again we are deepening inequalities and access to culture,” denounced Virginie Cordier, director of the cultural center La Vènerie, in the Brussels municipality of Watermael-Boitsfort. Others spoke of the importance of keeping cinemas and theaters open “for the mental health” of a population affected by nearly two years of a pandemic.

Some theaters and many cinemas, especially in Brussels, Namur (center) and Liège (east), have decided to defy the ban by remaining open on Sunday.

Demonstration in Liège

Another protest demonstration took place on December 26 in Liège, with several hundred people, according to the Belga press agency.

In announcing these new restrictions on December 22, the government indicated that it did not foresee a new assessment of the situation before the beginning of January. No precise date has been given.

“Masks, CST [le pass sanitaire belge], ventilation, CO2 detectors, air purification, physical distancing etc.“: The world of entertainment has” largely respected the protocols imposed “, had protested the League of Human Rights (LDH) of Belgium by announcing its intention to take legal action with several associations or federation of the sector.

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