Exploitation Demonstration

One of the nice/scary things about the location of my office is that we get to see a lot of demonstrations on their way to the European Parliament.

This week it was the turn of the builders and woodworkers of Europe. There may have been others; the builders and woodworkers were in the first group, followed by some Dutch and some Poles, then some Germans and Norwegians. After the English signs stopped, I was a little unsure of what was going on anymore. 

The gist of it seemed to be ‘Stop exploitation of our workers and stop social dumping’. 

They all wandered along, throwing firecrackers (which I’ve been suspicious of since one was thrown at me during the last farmers demo), and chanting. Occasionally the crowds were broken up by a bus which they’d brought along. 

My favourite part was when someone buried a mannequin in a wheelbarrow of sand. This was quickly followed up by a trio of coffins. 

The parade itself seemed well organised (more so than when the street cleaners went on strike and stood outside our office drinking beer); they all appeared to have a little brown paper bag with a packed lunch. 

The German section was especially loud, and I think concerned about CCTV. They also had vuvuzelas. And very professional looking flags.

During one especially tense moment, a car tried to escape from the garage opposite – this did not go down well. Fortunately, Belgians are such bad drivers that the demonstrators saw sense and let them pass. 

After they’d left, a band of street cleaners came through and had a snowball fight. Sadly I didn’t manage to capture the most exciting moment of the day on film. 

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