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Extinction Rebellion protest disrupts Brussels Motor Show

Extinction Rebellion argues cars contribute to the climate crisis © AFP / François WALSCHAERTS

Brussels, Belgium, Jan 18 – Police in Brussels said they arrested around 150 people at the Brussels Motor Show on Saturday after Extinction Rebellion campaigners smeared cars with fake blood and staged die-ins around the displays.

The activists would be released once they had given their identity, a police spokesman told AFP.

In a statement, the group’s Belgium wing said it had called the protest “to correct the deceitful image the car industry portrays of itself.

The protests staged a series of separate actions, including this ‘die-in’, at different stands of the motor show © AFP / François WALSCHAERTS

“This action of mass civil disobedience aims at denouncing the many lies which car manufacturers keep selling to the public to increase their sales at the cost of the environment, people’s health and social justice,” the statement added.

Some of the activists unfurled a banner reading “Stop CO2 emissions” at the main entry of the show, while others carried out protests at selected stands inside.

A few chained themselves to the steering wheel of cars on display or sprayed them with blood-coloured paint.

One group staged a protest at the stand occupied by oil giant Shell, holding placards reading “Shell Kills”, while others wore masks made out of the company’s logo or handed out leaflets.

Police managed to arrest some of the activists before they entered the motor show © AFP / François WALSCHAERTS

Although the group followed its usual practice of spreading different actions at targeted locations, police officers managed to intercept and arrest some of the activists before they could enter.

An Extinction Rebellion spokesman, who identified herself only as Sarah, told AFP: “We call it ‘the Salon of Lies’ because we absolutely don’t believe the automobile industry can bring solutions to this ecological and climate crisis.

“It has already lied in the past, is still lying and will continue to lie to us if we don’t stop it,” she added, calling for a new model of transport that respected the ecological and social good.

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