Wednesday, May 18

Serious riots at the demonstration against health restrictions in Brussels

This Sunday’s demonstration in Brussels against the health restrictions adopted by the pandemic, in which 50,000 people participated according to the city police, has ended with riots and scenes of violence.

Organized by associations such as the World Demonstration for Freedom and Europeans United for Freedom, the demonstrators had been called at 11:00 a.m. at the North Station in the Belgian capital to start the march an hour later to the Cinquantenaire Park, where speeches were delivered by local and international speakers.

The park is located next to the main institutions of the European Union and it has been precisely next to the headquarters of the community organizations, around the Schuman roundabout, where the violent acts and clashes with the security forces have begun. Some of the attendees have thrown projectiles at the police, who have resorted to water cannons and tear gas.

According to the Belgian news agency, some vehicles and buildings have also been damaged, while the daily Le Soir has published images of the headquarters of the European External Action Service, in charge of EU diplomacy, with broken glass. Shortly before 3:00 p.m., the Brussels police have requested on their Twitter social network profile the dissolution of the march.

“It’s incredible, the influx. But I have a double feeling about it. On the one hand, I am happy to see so many people gathered. On the other hand, I am unhappy that these people are here because they are not listened to. There is a big democratic problem,” he told Belgian the president of Europeans United for Freedom, Tom Meert.

Before the start of the march, next to the Estación del Norte, the police have registered the demonstrators and in some cases have found dangerous objects that were confiscated. Also before the start of the protest, the security forces have arrested six people.

During the route of the demonstration, German, French, Dutch, American, Polish or Romanian flags have been seen, he indicated Belgian.

The attendees, likewise, have carried banners criticizing the governments, vaccination or the digital covid certificate, and most of the participants did not wear a mask.

To try to ensure that the call had the maximum possible impact, the organizers had launched appeals on social networks and organized bus and train trips to the Belgian capital from other European countries.

With the demonstration, authorized by the mayor of the city of Brussels, the socialist Philippe Close, the organizers say they defend “democracy, human rights and respect for the Constitution.”

Europeans United for Freedom states on its website that the spread of covid-19, the saturation of hospitals and the deaths of sick people do not justify the abrogation of fundamental freedoms guaranteed by democracy. “The worst disease we have imported from China has not been the virus, but totalitarianism,” says the movement, which also criticizes “the lack of public debate prior to the decisions made by governments based on scientific advice.”

Over the past few weekends, protests against health measures have been common in Brussels, often ending in scenes of violence.

He highlighted, in particular, the one held on November 21, which managed to gather 35,000 people through the streets of the Belgian capital, with glass, cars and urban furniture being destroyed at the end of the march. The police had to use tear gas to disperse the rioters.