Henri Kox says won’t tolerate protest tourism

Henri Kox, Minister for Internal Security, visited the site on 11 December shortly before the demonstrations began. (Photos: Guy Wolff/Maison Moderne/Archives)

Henri Kox, Minister for Internal Security, visited the site on 11 December shortly before the demonstrations began. (Photos: Guy Wolff/Maison Moderne/Archives)

The minister of internal security, Henri Kox, says that “tourism” of protesters from other countries will not be tolerated during the next demonstrations in Luxembourg.

Last weekend, a handful of troublemakers from Lorraine and Alsace joined the protesters in opposition of the government’s pandemic restrictions. Their presence raised fears that the capital would become a playground for instigators and thugs with little interest in peaceful protest and debate.

“Undeclared and ill-intentioned demonstrations are a recent phenomenon in Luxembourg. This kind of ‘tourism’ of demonstrators will not be tolerated in any way,” Kox told Delano’s sister publication Paperjam. “The security arrangements are constantly being adapted to react appropriately and according to the evolution of the situation. The composition of this weekend’s group of demonstrators was heterogeneous and has evolved since the first demonstrations. Some of last weekend’s demonstrators had only one intention, namely to disrupt public order. We will show zero tolerance towards them,” he said adding that “beyond the management of the demonstrations, it will be a question of leading a debate at the national level, in order to prevent more effectively this radicalisation and to understand the origins of this recent phenomenon.”

The minister also sought to reassure by specifying that the police “carry out a risk analysis before each demonstration and take into account all the information to which they have access in order to adapt the security arrangements accordingly. In this context, the police also regularly exchange with their counterparts abroad.”

Protesters over the weekend did not respect the perimeter defined from the Glacis to the Place de l'Europe. Gathering in front of the Luxembourg central train station and then moving up towards the city centre, some were far from the famous “zoning” drawn up by authorities.

The police communication service confirmed that it is “closely monitoring the situation” with a “risk assessment carried out beforehand and the establishment of a system based on the risks.” Although the police are not revealing the details of their plan, they are keeping a close eye on social networks and are in regular contact with foreign authorities in order to gather as much information as possible.

Traders are fed up

However, the possibility of the recurrent presence of troublemakers in the weekend demonstrations and the non-respect of the demonstration perimeter are worrying residents of the capital, and are also beginning to exasperate the shopkeepers.

On the airwaves of Radio 100,7, Mireille Rahmé-Bley, president of the Commercial Union of the City of Luxembourg, said that “shopkeepers are fed up with the situation.”

They close their shops at the time of the demonstrations because they are afraid of possible material damage, she said. Moreover, as the demonstrators do not respect the zoning, a climate of tension reigns in the streets of the capital at the weekend. As a direct consequence, families and customers avoid going to the city at the time of the demonstrations and shopkeepers suffer a drop in activity after having already suffered greatly over the past two years, she said.