Legal Information

***Latest info for those arrested***

32 people were arrested on 14 March 2013 after the successful peaceful occupation of DG Economic and Financial Affairs (ECFIN). Everyone has now been released with no charges, but the situation is still unclear regarding how the police are going to act next.

The For a European Spring legal team has given the following advice:

  • No one has been accused with anything yet, but if this does happens, we have a lawyer (Olivier Stein) who will represent the accused
  • For Belgians who have been 'invited' to a police meeting, it is entirely up to you if you go, as it is not a legal summons. If you do attend, the advice if to say you have nothing to declare
  • For those not from Belgium who have been invited to a police meeting, it is also up to them. There is a small risk that those not attending are placed on the wanted list, although this normally only happens for serious crimes, not peaceful civil disobedience.

For anyone arrested that has any question, please send an email to [email protected] or call +32 4 86 03 38 98 (general line)

What happens during an arrest?

  • There are two types of detention:
    • One is administrative – if the police believe that you are disturbing the peace/committing a public order offence. An administrative detention can last up to 12 hours.
    • A judiciary arrest – if the police suspect you have committed a crime. After a mixumum of 24 hours, you must be freed or put before the judge who will decide  if your detention will be prolonged.
  • The police can verify your identity and demand you make a statement. This isn’t obligatory. We recommend you do not give a statement, and simply say “ have nothing to say”, and sign the statement.
  • You are not obliged to sign anything, except the ‘detention register’ at the start and the end of your arrest.
  • It is possible that the police want to take your photo or your fingerprints. You can refuse, but it is best to not go too far. If you insist on remaining anonymous, they have the possibility to hold you longer.


We are carrying out non-violent actions

  1. We don’t use physical or verbal violence, and we do not provoke violence
  2. We respect everyone as human beings: the local residents, the police and the protestors
  3. We avoid damaging the surrounding area

Each participant is responsible for adopting a non-violent approach

Permanent legal representatives (if it really goes wrong) will be available throughout the day

English and German speakers: +32 4 87 428 355

French speakers:                          +32 4 87 428 133

  • Only call to give relevant information. For example, if your action has succeeded, when you see the police attack en force
  • Call in a case of emergency. For example if someone is injured. In serious cases, call the emergency services (112)
  • Call if you’ve been freed after detention and you don’t have a means of getting home.
  • A lawyer will be working with us and will be available if and when needed.

The legal representatives will try and help you as much as possible.

Write our number on you arm or leg

We hope that no arrests will take place (even administrative ones). We emphasise the fact that this action is above all symbolic and media-friendly. However, it is still necessary to be ready for every circumstance, even the most pessimistic. If you treat it like a game of parody and you remain non-violent and don’t destroy anything, nothing will happen to you.

Let’s have fun!