Brussels Firefighters to Get Optional Police Escorts After Series of Attacks

Belgian police officers wearing protective gears stand at the site of unrests in Anderlecht, Brussels, on April 11, 2020. - People gather in a reaction to the death of a 19-year-old young man, who died after his scooter collided with a police car during a chase the night before. (Photo …

Firefighters in areas of the Belgian capital of Brussels can request police escorts after a series of serious attacks involving rocks and Molotov cocktails.

The recent attacks on the emergency services personnel have all occurred in the Marolles district, which is known for its multicultural character according to a Brussels city tourism website that claims residents come from various backgrounds including French, Dutch, and Arabic.

According to a report from newspaper La Libre, the fire brigade first employed a police escort on Saturday. The report said the measure was only temporary and police would only be used if the situation on the ground called for it.

Eric Labourdette, a member of the Free Union of Public Service, stated that attacks on firefighters have greatly increased in recent years, saying that 43 members of the fire brigade were violently attacked in 2019, up a quarter from the year before.

Last month, firefighters in notorious Molenbeek, known for its links to radical Islamists, were allegedly lured to an area and attacked by local youths.

“The street was partially blocked by waste containers, one of which was ablaze,” local firefighter Walter Derieuw said.

“As we approached the fire, our fire truck was suddenly pelted with glass bottles. They were thrown at us by people standing on the roof of a building. Projectiles were also thrown during the extinguishing,” he added and theorised the incident had been a deliberate ambush.

In France, attacks on emergency services have become increasingly common and more violent. In July, a firefighter in the commune of Etampes was shot in the leg while trying to put out a car fire.

French firefighters have also been forced to request police escorts to protect them from violent locals, such as in Vaucluse last year after firemen were attacked with Molotov cocktails.

Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at ctomlinson(at)


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