POLITICS & INSTITUTIONS - JUSTICE

Anti-vaccine demonstrations

Police will be prepared for weekend protests, says minister



Repeats of Saturday’s protests are likely. The police will be better prepared, says minister Henri Kox.  Copyright (c) 2019 j.michael.hoffman/Shutterstock.  No use without permission.

Repeats of Saturday’s protests are likely. The police will be better prepared, says minister Henri Kox.  Copyright (c) 2019 j.michael.hoffman/Shutterstock. No use without permission.

Police will be better prepared and equipped this coming weekend, said interior security minister Henri Kox after a demonstration on Saturday escalated.

Around 2,000 people had gathered in the capital on 4 December in opposition to pandemic measures. Splinter groups stormed the Christmas market in Place de la Constitution, threw eggs at the prime minister’s house and damaged a car parked outside.

Calls to action by anti-vaccine groups are already making the rounds for a gathering over the next weekend. Kox (Déi Gréng) told lawmakers on Tuesday that preparations are underway to ensure that police are better prepared and equipped.

Deputies had criticised the lack of police officers at the protest. Kox and representatives of the police explained that an authorised demonstration group--which met at the Kinnekswiss park--met up with an unauthorised march that had started on the Glacis not far away.

The latter had been promoted through social media in the days prior. The much larger group saw some of its members split and march towards the Christmas market and Bettel’s house. With no official organiser behind the protest, police had no point of contact, they said.

While the police were able to keep an eye on social media posts, and thus could adapt to a certain extent to the situation, it said it would be better equipped to de-escalate upcoming protests.

The police explained that it is currently investigating the identities of instigators of Saturday’s violence. A deputy suggested the use of bodycams in future police missions, a topic that has been up for discussion amid calls for more police presence around the Gare and Bonnevoie districts to tackle drugs crime.

Organisers of the “march blanche” movement--which has been staging regular protests for weeks--are dissociating themselves from the instigators of Saturday’s escalation, calling for more but peaceful protests.