“I thought there were going to be a lot fewer people.” Marie, a young homeowner who has lived in the Gare (central station) neighbourhood for two years, was surprised by the number of people who turned out for the demonstration on Saturday 23 September, organised by local residents to protest against the lack of security they feel on their own streets.
“I’m not a big fan of demonstrations, but there were families with children, couples, shopkeepers, tenants--I think all the residents got involved. It shows that the problem affects everyone,” said Marie, who joined a friend to take part in the demonstration.
For Thibaut, who also lives and owns property in the Gare, the day “began well.” “This morning, when I came out of my house, I found someone sleeping in the entrance hall,” he said. “I told him to leave and was met with a barrage of insults.”
Of the demonstration, he added: “There were quite a few people there, a few political figures and above all local residents. It was a very good turnout.”
On the protesters’ signs were slogans such as “Save the Gare” and “Protect our schools, protect our children.” Said an astonished Marie: “I’m impressed by the organisation of the demonstration. It’s great that we’ve managed to get so many people together.”
Gathering around the table
The organisers put the number of participants at 600. “I didn’t count. That number was just given to me. But we’re extremely pleased with the enthusiasm and the turnout--we were anticipating far fewer people. So we’re really pleased. What’s more, there were no incidents and the atmosphere was friendly throughout the procession to the Chamber of Deputies,” said Graziela Bordin, one of the organisers.
Local residents have no intention of stopping now, particularly in light of their neighbours’ enthusiasm. “We’re going to let the legislative elections pass and then we want to sit down with the authorities, with the City of Luxembourg, to find solutions,” said Bordin. “We’re also thinking about the best way to structure ourselves, perhaps by creating an Asbl. We also want to improve our communication with local residents. But our priority is to find solutions.”
This article was originally published in Paperjam. It has been translated and edited for Delano.