Around 8,000 protests in Brussels and clash with police in protests against covid rules. Belgian police fired water cannons and used tear gas Sunday to disperse protesters opposed to compulsory health measures against the coronavirus pandemic.
Police said two of their officers and four protesters had been hospitalised, and 20 people had been arrested in violent clashes on Sunday.
Around 8,000 protests in Brussels, who marched through Brussels toward the headquarters of the European Union, chanting “Freedom!” and letting off fireworks.
Very tense situation in #Brussels.
The police charge and use three water cannons and numerous tear gas canisters to disperse the demonstrators. (@vecumedia) #Brussel pic.twitter.com/svTsl0GLc6
— Ignorance, the root and stem of all evil (@ivan_8848) December 5, 2021
The demonstrators oppose compulsory health measures — such as masks, lockdowns and vaccine pass — and some share conspiracy theories. Banners on Sunday compared the stigmatization of the non-vaccinated to the treatment of Jews forced to wear yellow stars in Nazi Germany.
Police had to respond urgently to save the EU headquarters
The crowd was smaller than the 35,000 vaccine and lockdown sceptics who marched last month, and police were better prepared. Protesters were blocked from reaching the roundabout outside the EU headquarters by a barbed-wire barricade and a line of riot officers.
As two drones and a helicopter circled overhead, they threw fireworks and beer cans. Police responded with a water cannon and tear gas. As the crowd dispersed into smaller groups around the European quarter, there were more clashes and some set fire to barricades of rubbish.
8,000 protests in Brussels – Mandatory vaccinations announced
On Wednesday, European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen said that in her view it was time to “think about mandatory vaccination,” a suggestion that was denounced by speakers at the protest.
On Friday, Belgian Prime Minister Alexander de Croo announced a series of measures to tighten sanitary rules, bringing school Christmas holidays forward and asking children aged six and over to wear masks.