Belgian police waive traffic fines in protest over pensions

Reuters News
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Posted: Sep 30, 2014 5:08 AM

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Belgians who drive a bit over the speed limit, forget to buckle their seat belts or park illegally can breathe easier this week as police turn a blind eye in protest against plans to raise their retirement age.

The country's police are up in arms over plans by the incoming government to raise their pension age to 62 from 58 as part of its efforts to cut the federal budget. Some 40,000 officers demonstrated against it in Brussels two weeks ago.

They began the next step in their protest on Tuesday by going easy on minor infractions for the next week.

"Clearly this wouldn't cover major offences, such as reckless or drunken driving," said Vincent Houssin, deputy chairman of the 18,000-member VSOA police union.

Police unions say the officers will continue to uphold traffic safety, but for a week at least the state budget will not get the benefit of their work.

(Reporting By Philip Blenkinsop; Editing by Tom Heneghan)