Belgian police used water cannons and tear gas to disperse some disobedient demonstrators in Brussels, where several thousand others protested peacefully against the new Corona measures.
Riot police stormed Sunday’s rally and drove hundreds of protesters with trucks. 20 people were arrested, according to Agence France-Presse.
Before the end of the week, the Belgian authorities introduced new austerity measures for the third week in a row. The background is a powerful wave of infection that is stressing the health care system.
Among other things, kindergartens and primary schools must close a week before the start of the Christmas holidays, and school children up to the age of six must now wear face masks. Before, the government had, among other things, closed nightclubs and required bars and restaurants to close at 11pm.
In the past two weeks, Belgium detected 2,147 infections per 100,000 inhabitants, indicating that the country recorded the third highest infection pressure in the world. In Norway, the comparison number is 778.
“Freedom” was among the slogans at Sunday’s protest, and some protesters carried messages criticizing vaccines. About eight thousand participated in the march, according to the first estimate of the police.
During the afternoon, the police asked the protesters to surrender and warned that the rioters would be arrested. The vast majority went their separate ways, but about 100 protesters ran against the police siege outside the European Commission headquarters. They lit fireworks and threw trash and other items at the police, who used tear gas and water cannons to disperse them.
Two weeks ago, 35,000 people participated in a demonstration against the Corona measures in Belgium, which ended in clashes between protesters and security forces.
More than 3,700 people infected with covid-19 have been admitted in Belgium, 821 of whom are receiving intensive care. On average, just over 17,800 infections were detected per day in the past week. Since the beginning of the epidemic, the Belgian authorities have recorded more than 27,000 deaths related to Corona.
Other Corona measures in Belgium include banning indoor activities, except for weddings, funerals and gatherings in private homes. Indoor events can have up to 200 participants, and sporting events must be held without an audience.
About 75 percent of the population in Belgium is fully immunized.
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