Launch of the 2020 Belgium ‘aggression and violence against aid workers and police is NEVER OK’ campaign.
For some 8 weeks now, at 8 pm every evening, here in Belgium, whole streets and communities have been showing their support for the aid workers by clapping and sounding car horns. “Behind the scenes” violence aimed at aid workers, even in “Lockdown” has been increasing and it MUST STOP.
This morning (29 May 2020), alongside numerous local and national media representatives, various Union members and staff, Audax attended the campaign launch event in the council chamber of the city of Lier, Belgium.
This year the campaign has a figurehead of local celebrity and Belgian TV presenter, Walter Grootaers, frontman of De Kreuners “The Moans”. Alongside was Dries Deschilder (Chairman of the Ambulanciers Union) and the “Artist behind the images” Dirk Van der Auwera, who incidentally is also a Police Chief inspector in the city of Lier with over 30 years’ service.
The entire campaign is hoping to gain awareness and engagement with policy makers and employers to start focusing and taking action rather than issuing passive “soundbites”. It is reported that some employers even forbid their staff from reporting incidents so as not to “upset the apple cart” and this too must stop. It is a serious issue and one that has been “brushed under the carpet” for too long here in Belgium.
One of the Key organisers of the event is DVE media operated by Dirk Van Elslande, who is hoping to see this circulated in the local and national press of Belgium. The campaign also runs alongside thousands of posters that have been printed which are now “springing up all over the country” being distributed by the Emergency workers and Sympathizers countrywide too so the message is certainly visually there!
Manging Director of Audax, Adam Liardet commented “With Audax being one of the key campaign sponsors and also the Prime sponsor of the Ambulance Union, (Ambulanciersunie) we are keen to assist where we can to “aid those who help us” in both in the UK, in Belgium and elsewhere. “While we have proven time and again that our body Worn cameras do mitigate some risk, without a fear of prosecution for an attack on an emergency worker, these attacks will still occur. As the global pioneer of this technology having a product that provides indisputable evidence to support a prosecution is vital.”
He goes on to say “Audax provide technology rich and yet affordable solutions to protect those who help us and anything that raises awareness to this unacceptable problem and encourages employers to take this seriously by treating it as a crime, can only be a good thing in my opinion”. “ I am grateful to the Burgemeester, Frank Boogaerts, for welcoming me to the City of Lier and the local press for their interest in this event, I do hope this message also reaches the ears of those who consider that abusing an aid worker is acceptable and it alters their attitude too”.