The Mayor of Sint Truiden and the local police have granted permission for Charlton supporters to stage a protest march alongside disgruntled local fans in the town on March 4th. The event (The Unity Protest) has been organised by The Belgium 20, Women Against the Regime (WAR) and The Coalition Against Roland Duchatelet (CARD).
It is estimated that over 200 Addicks will make the journey by coach, car, train or plane and will congregate for the formal rally and protest at 6pm local time.
Supporters of the local team (STTV) have just announced the foundation of their own campaign group, GRAS, which is urging Duchatelet to run their club in a competitive way or sell up. Liaison between Charlton and Sint-Truiden fans has been ongoing for many months.
A CARD spokesperson said: “We are pleased that the local authorities have recognised our right to protest in Sint-Truiden and will now work with them on the details to ensure that this a safe but effective demonstration. We are also grateful to the Met for their help.
But the Charlton fans hit back at a bizarre statement by Duchatelet in the local paper claiming the protestors, whose numbers have run into several thousand at The Valley, are “a few hot heads who previously worked directly or indirectly for the club and who were shown the door due to their rebellious and rowdy attitude”.
He went on: “They also don't like the fact that I give [chief executive] Katrien Meire my support.”
“Duchatelet’s insistence that the protests are the work of a few dismissed former staff is self-evidently ludicrous, both in terms of the numbers demonstrating against him and the diverse range of people in CARD, Women Against the Regime and in other groups involved in the Sint-Truiden initiative, like the Belgium 20.
“People are protesting because they are passionate about Charlton and angry at the long-term damage being done to the club under his ownership and Katrien Meire’s management.
“Everybody involved is a Charlton fan of many years standing and none has ever been sacked by the club due to their rebellious and rowdy attitude. He either knows that this is a lie or he is being misled by other people. In either case, he should put up or shut up.”
For details of how to join the protest in Belgium, email email@example.com.