Staff at the Saint-Pierre Hospital – the first medical institution to treat a coronavirus patient in Belgium– greeted Wilmès’ car by silently turning their backs, in what was described as a “guard of dishonour”.
Afterwards, one nurse told broadcaster RTBF that the gesture had been to mirror the way they perceived politicians ignoring their calls for support.
Politicians constantly turn their backs on our appeals for help.
The teams are under-staffed and the burnout rates show it. We want the profession to be valued properly.
In response, Wilmès said that she was aware of the need for mediation between healthcare workers and her administration.
Nothing will be the same after the crisis, we need to reevaluate the importance of the nursing profession.
Footage of the protest quickly went viral on social media, with many praising the peaceful demonstration.
“Powerful, visual protest,” wrote one Twitter user.