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Activists paint their own pedestrian crossing on deadly Brussels street

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Activists paint their own pedestrian crossing on deadly Brussels street

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Credit: 1000/0
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Following the death of an 83-year-old man in Brussels, two local citizen groups took matters into their own hands by painting a pedestrian crossing on the road.

The man was run over in December 2017 on Rue Masui, on the frontier between Schaerbeek and Brussels City, in a spot where the nearest crossing was 150 metres away.

Pieter Fannes, a member of the 1030/0 group based in Schaerbeek, told Euronews it was "absurd" that there were no crossings on the stretch.

He added that it was "outrageous" that nothing had been done to secure the street in the six months since the man's death and that there had been other non-fatal accidents in the meantime.

"People don't dare cross the road with their kids," said Fannes. "The issue isn't just the lack of crossings, it's one of the roads in Brussels that goes straight ahead, it's very wide, with few speed checks. People drive like crazy people."

Three members of 1030/0 group's Brussels-based sister organisation 1000/0 painted the crossing two weeks ago to be "absolutely clear" of the message they wanted to convey, according to Fannes.

CREDIT: 1030/0

He said the action was "borderline illegal," explaining "we aren't criminals, we know our action was borderline but we painted the crossing with chalk-based paint."

Police told Belgian radio Bruzz that the DIY crossing is not legal, as only the city can approve and authorise crossings to be painted on streets. The penalty for those caught doing so is a fine.

While the chalk from the pedestrian crossing has all but washed away, the 1030/0 and 1000/0 groups are already planning their next stunt, again in the exact spot where the elderly man was run over.

Fannes said the groups are recruiting designers to create another more elaborate installation.

"This time we will make something that resembles a pedestrian crossing, but not completely, with paint that is a little less temporary, to point out the problem without being caught out with these legal issues," he said.