Brussels authorities have banned a pan-European “freedom convoy” of motorists – demanding an end to COVID-19 restrictions – from entering the Belgian capital.
The convoy of protesters was expected to arrive at the home of European Union institutions and NATO on Monday and they had threatened to block roads.
A wide perimeter around the city will be set up to keep a large number of trucks out of the centre, said officials.
Authorities in Paris had earlier banned the convoy.
Image: French activists show a sign reading ‘I love the freedom convoy’ before the start of their journey from southern France
Image: French activists have been waving the Canadian flag – with the convoy inspired by a demonstration that took place in the North American country
Citing “risks of trouble to public order,” police in the French city prohibited demonstrations aimed at “blocking the capital” from Friday until Monday.
Blocking traffic can lead to two years in prison, fines of €4,500 (£3,800) and a suspended driver’s licence, the police department said.
Protesters set out from southern France on Wednesday in what they call a “freedom convoy” that was aiming to converge on Paris on Friday and then Brussels on Monday to demand an end to coronavirus restrictions.
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Brussels mayor Philippe Close said on Twitter that officials decided to ban the protest because organisers failed to seek permission to hold the event.
A similar freedom convoy is planned in Vienna, Austria, on Friday.
Read more: Canada protests: From a loosely organised convoy of truckers to a resistance movement
The convoy has been inspired by demonstrators who gridlocked the Canadian capital Ottawa.
Image: Canadian protests caused gridlock in Ottawa
A statement from the Brussels regional government said: “The federal police will control motorised vehicles on the main roads to Brussels that come to demonstrate in Belgium.
“The region and the city of Brussels will issue decrees banning demonstrations with trucks on their territory.”
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Lines of lorries at Canada border
In Canada, horn-blaring demonstrations demanding an end to Canadian COVID vaccine mandates for cross-border truck drivers have gridlocked the capital Ottawa for weeks and have now spilled over to key Canada-US border crossings.
Source : Sky News