Friday, January 21

Some 8,000 people demonstrate in Brussels against anticovid measures

Some 8,000 people walked the streets of Brussels this Sunday in protest against sanitary measures to contain the coronavirus and the possible obligation of the vaccine while the country faces record rates of accumulated incidence since the beginning of the pandemic, with 2,127 cases per 100,000 inhabitants a fourteen days.

The demonstration, which ended with some incidents, began around one o’clock near the North Station of the Belgian capital and advanced to the European quarter, where the protesters displayed posters in defense of freedom and against the “dictatorship of stigmatization “of the unvaccinated.

The demonstration was surrounded by high precautions and vigilance after a similar but larger protest two weeks ago, with 35,000 people, left more than 40 detainees, three injured and numerous material damages.

The participants in the march consider the covid digital certificate, necessary in Belgium to access bars, restaurants and some leisure events, “contrary to fundamental rights and discriminatory” and affirm that “the virus is not under control, but the population is ”, In statements collected by the Belgian newspaper Le Soir.

Some pointed out not being against vaccines but against the possible obligation to receive them, a debate on which no decision has yet been made in Belgium beyond for health personnel as of January 2022.

It will also be mandatory for workers such as firefighters, who denounce that a fifth of their Brussels fleet (about 200 people) could not work if they are required to present this certificate and joined the protests this Sunday.

The security forces have increased their troops in the march, both officers and civilians, after the incidents of two weeks ago and after the Belgian Coordination Body for the Analysis of Threats (OCAM) warned in a report that resistance to sanitary measures is leading “to increased polarization, extremism and threats.”

The demonstration unfolded peacefully until its final moments, when in one of the streets near the headquarters of the European Commission and the Council, projectiles and fireworks were fired by a group of protesters towards the police present in the area, where several streets had been closed.

The security forces responded with the activation of water cannons and the use of tear gas and ended the demonstration at around five in the afternoon.