Brussels police fire water cannon, tear gas during COVID curbs protest


BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Police in Brussels fired water cannon and tear gas to disperse protesters close to the European Commission’s headquarters on Sunday, after a protest involving some 50,000 folks opposing COVID-19 restrictions turned violent.

Although Belgium introduced a slight easing of coronavirus restrictions on Friday, regardless of document infections, the federal government additionally stated folks should have booster photographs after 5 months to take care of the COVID-19 passes which permit them to entry bars or cinemas.

The passes, that are necessary for anybody wishing to enter a restaurant, museum or many different public area, have sparked fierce opposition amongst some Belgians.

In scenes harking back to related clashes final November, when round 35,000 protesters took half in demonstrations that began peacefully however later turned violent, some streets within the Belgian capital had been quickly crammed with acrid tear gas.

The constructing housing the European diplomatic service and a sandwich store had been damaged into, a Reuters witness stated.

Some protesters let off fireworks as police superior in drive into a close-by park the place massive teams of demonstrators had gathered, the water cannon surrounded by officers carrying physique armour, helmets and carrying riot shields.

One demonstrator, standing on a stage, instructed the others to place up their palms, saying the protesters wouldn’t quit.

“I’m offended concerning the blackmail that the federal government is doing, principally for the younger folks however for everyone, however principally for the younger folks, they’re actually blackmailing that everyone has to go for the vaccine”, Caroline van Landuyt, who stated she had been vaccinated towards COVID-19 herself, stated.

Belgium is within the midst of a fifth wave of COVID-19 infections, with the height not anticipated for no less than a few weeks. Some 89% of adults in Belgium are absolutely vaccinated and 67% have now additionally acquired a booster shot.

“I used to be very offended that my kids needed to do have the vaccine. They need to journey, they need to do sports activities competitions, they usually cannot do it with no vaccine, however they didn’t need to, it is simply blackmail,” she added.

(Reporting by Johnny Cotton; Writing by Sabine Siebold; Editing by Alexander Smith)

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