Pursuit of Democracy

The memory of those who fell in the battle for universal suffrage (18 April 1902 – 18 April 2002).

The drawings are made by marble and copper – 6 by 6 meters, 81 square tiles – somewhat hidden by the greenery and some benches.

In 1902, a general strike brought the country to a standstill. There are large demonstrations here and there. The government makes no concessions, on the contrary: it decides to take crackdowns. In Leuven, the Civil Guard is deployed instead of the gendarmerie.  When the unarmed demonstrators threaten to advance, the vigilantes open fire after the prescribed warning. They use heavy weapons. In the bloody night of April 18, 1902, four people were killed in the Janseniusstraat. In the Tiensestraat no order to shoot was given, but two people were killed and at least five injured.

Their struggle is an example of the pursuit of democracy.

In 2002, Leuven commemorated the blood night of 1902, one hundred years earlier. The General Belgian Trade Union Confederation (ABVV) Flemish Brabant, together with the Federation of Socialist Mutualities of Brabant, the AMSAB Institute for Social History, the Confédération des syndicats Chrétiens (CSC) and the city archives of Leuven, provided various forms of commemoration. ABVV also signed for the erection of a permanent monument in the heart of the city. The monument was inaugurated on Thursday, April 18, 2002.

The art is on the Quinten Metsysplein Square in Leuven.

(Source: Leuven Gebeiteld_metkaft - Leuven statues.pdf, 2014)

 Photo by Aslı Tezcan

Pursuit of Democracy