#OccupyForClimate turns up pressure for Belgian climate law

Update: On Tuesday 26 March, a committee of the Belgian Parliament approved the necessary constitutional change required for the rapid adoption of a climate law. A final decision will be made by all members of the parliament on Thursday 28 March.

“What do we want? Climate justice! When do we want it? Now!” That was the chant of hundreds of Belgian citizens gathered in front of the country’s federal Parliament yesterday, just two days before the government is set to vote on whether or not to revise the Belgian constitution to acknowledge the urgent need for climate action.

On Sunday 24 March at 6pm, hundreds of citizens gathered in front of the Belgium Parliament to protest against the government’s climate policy and to ask for climate change to be included in the constitution.

This action, called ‘Occupy for climate’, follows 11 weeks of school strikes. Leading figures of the Belgian school strikes Anuna De Wever, Kyra Gantois and Adelaide Charlier are involved in the action which brings together actors, Youtubers and other public figures.

The Belgian government is expected to vote tomorrow, Tuesday 26 March, on whether or not to revise the so-called “article 7bis” in the Belgian constitution – doing so is a necessary step to create the legal basis for the rapid adoption of a climate law.

Citizens first blocked rue de la Loi, in front of the federal parliament, before being moved to a nearby location beside the Trone metro station by the police on Sunday night, where they are expected to stay until Tuesday, the day of the vote.

At the moment, the change is supported by various political groups but to pass the proposal needs to gather 2/3 majority. If on Tuesday the change is accepted, the proposal will then be proposed on Thursday during the plenary session.

Els Galle, who took part in Sunday night’s demo, says:

I think it is essential that the government takes action to tackle climate change. There are only a few days left to convince them of the importance of changing our constitution. Otherwise there is no possibility to have a special binding climate law in the next legislature. That’s why we are here and why we ask for their attention. We ask for climate justice, now!

This article was first published on Monday 25 March and was updated on Tuesday 26 March.