By Marine Strauss
BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Brussels authorities have banned a pan-European “freedom convoy” of motorists protesting COVID-19 restrictions from entering the Belgian capital, the regional government said in a statement on Thursday.
The convoy was expected to arrive at the home of European Union institutions and NATO on Monday. Authorities in Paris had earlier banned the convoy.
Protesters set out from southern France on Wednesday in what they called a “freedom convoy” that will converge on Paris and Brussels to demand an end to COVID-19 restrictions, inspired by demonstrators who have gridlocked the Canadian capital Ottawa.
“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,” a statement from the Brussels region said, adding they had not received yet any request to protest.
In Canada, horn-blaring demonstrations demanding an end to Canadian COVID-19 vaccine mandates for cross-border truck drivers have gridlocked capital Ottawa for weeks and have now spilled over to key Canada-United States border crossings.
(Reporting by Marine Strauss; Editing by Bernadette Baum)