THOUSANDS of people have signed a petition in a bid to remove a high-tech Christmas tree from the city centre of a major European city.
• More than 25,000 have signed petition in bid to remove high-tech Christmas tree
• Petitioners claim tree was erected to avoid offending non-Christians
More than 25,000 people in Brussels have signed a petition voicing their opposition to an 82ft abstract light installation that has replaced the traditional Christmas tree in the Belgian capital’s city square,
The installation, which the city mayor’s office says is meant to represent the theme of light and to showcase the city’s avant-garde culture, has drawn unfavourable comparisons to a pharmacy.
Other petitioners say that the luminuos green monument has been erected in order to avoid offending Brussels’ Muslim population and other non-Christians.
The signators have called for a “real Christmas tree”, one that “respects [their] traditions and [their] values”
Phillipe Close, a tourism councillor at the mayor’s office, disputed claims that the tree was a way of avoiding causing offense, saying: “What we want is just to modernise the pleasure of winter, of this Christmas market and all the image of Brussels.
“The Christmas tree is not a religious symbol and actually lots of Muslims have a Christmas tree at home.
“For people who want a traditional religious symbol, we have the nativity scene here in the square. For people who want modernity, we have this new tree.”
In previous years, pine trees from the Ardenne forests, measuring up to 65ft in height, have been put up in the Grand Place area of Brussels.