Climate protester Wouter Mouton failed to disrupt the Holy Blood Procession because he was arrested by the police

A few weeks ago, activist Wouter Mouton used, among other things, the Tour of Flanders and the football cup final to draw attention to his climate message. He also planned to carry out a disruptive action during Bruges’ best day.

“The blood procession is an internationally well-attended event, so I was sure of a large reach,” Mouton said. “Especially given the beautiful weather and the fact that it had been a few years since the procession could take place. I am aware of the importance and historical value of the procession. The enormous eye for detail, scope and dedication of all involved contributed to its inclusion in the UNESCO list of cultural heritage in 2009. So there can hardly be enough praise for this event.”

“Yet I choose to try to disrupt these kinds of events and in this way draw attention to the climate crisis. The latest report from WMO (World Meteorological Organisation) is again full of alarming messages. Acidifying and rising ocean temperatures, higher CO2 concentrations, record temperatures.. Many of these indicators exceed critical thresholds, which will ensure that our life on Earth will become more and more challenging. Droughts, food shortages, energy problems, massive migration flows.. The small taste that the people in the Ardennes had to undergo last year has not led to a structural questioning, let alone an improvement of the federal climate policy. Have there not been enough deaths, or how should I interpret this?”

When asked about his goals, Mouton refers to politics. “Our federal government’s lax policy of negligence has resulted in it being sued by civil society group Climate Case. A case that was lost by the government. The same criminal negligence also prevails in the city council of Bruges. This is perfectly illustrated by the fact that it took more than 3 years to wait for a climate plan after the municipal elections in 2018. A plan without a clear extra budget, moreover. How bad can it be? This attitude will undoubtedly contribute to a great deal and avoidable suffering for all citizens, especially the most vulnerable. This selective blindness is in any case an extra motivation for me to discredit the local government and to target Bruges and national events.”

What exactly his action would entail is clear. Mouton wanted to come into the picture again with a described shirt. Despite a disguise, however, he was recognized and administratively detained for several hours together with a companion. “I am often asked if this isn’t an endless game with the police. Well, of course you can look at it that way. Our goal is to get into the picture and the police want to avoid that. Indeed, I could consider it a game if the stakes weren’t so high. And I lost this game, but it takes a lot of games to win a set. The only bad thing about this game is that there is no referee, otherwise ‘radical climate activists’ would have won long ago. My congratulations to the Bruges police for getting me out and, as always, thanks to them for the correct treatment.”

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