Bedlam in Brussels: Cops Clash with Protesters at 50,000 Strong Anti-Vaccine Passport Rally

Police confront protestors during a demonstration against COVID-19 measures in Brussels, Sunday, Jan. 23, 2022. Demonstrators gathered in the Belgian capital to protest what they regard as overly extreme measures by the government to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, including a vaccine pass regulating access to certain places and activities and …
AP Photo/Geert Vanden Wijngaert

Belgian police clashed with protestors on Sunday during a 50,000 strong demonstration against coronavirus restrictions and mandatory vaccinations.

Belgian police were filmed using water cannons, pepper spray, and batons on protestors demonstrating against Chinese coronavirus restrictions and mandatory vaccinations in European Union nations in the bloc’s capital city of Brussels.

The police reported that in total there were an estimated 50,000 people in attendance, however, the organisers contest this number and claim there were at least half a million people present at the march.

The protest initially started peacefully and speakers gave speeches about ending coronavirus restrictions in Europe. A variety of different people from across the political spectrum, as well as different nationalities, were in attendance, with some dressing in costumes ranging from Jesus to biohazard suits,

It is unclear who started the scuffles between the protestors and the police but violence was seen from both sides, with fights breaking out between protestors and police officers across the Belgian capital.

The rally was reported to have been organised by the Children’s Health Defense Europe, which is demanding a “European moratorium on health restrictions” to protect the mental and physical wellbeing of European children.

The organisation is run by Robert F. Kennedy Jr, the nephew of former U.S. President John F. Kennedy, and a prominent critic of lockdown measures.

The Belgian newspaper Gazet van Antwerpen (GVA) reports that even before the march began, six people were arrested for having “dangerous objects”. In total, sixty people have been arrested so far, with at least three officers and twelve demonstrators injured.

The main violence occurred after the speeches that were concluded at 2 pm, with GVA claiming that a group of masked men attacked the police with makeshift weapons and smashed several buildings’ windows in the European Quarter of Brussels.

In the photos supplied by GVAan Antifa flag can be seen surrounded by men wearing black clothing and ironically masks.

Following this initial violence, the organisers called for peace and for attendees to go home, however, this was initially ignored by most attendees, who clashed with police across the city.

At one point protestors trapped several police officers in a subway station and pelted them with metal fences and objects, knocking one officer down a set of concrete stairs. After the officers retreated into the subway station protestors rolled a bin that had been set alight down the stairs at them, engulfing them in smoke.

Officers attempted to disperse crowds with water cannons, however, this resulted in the violence spreading throughout the city with protestors hurling objects and charging at the police and police using pepper spray and hitting protestors with batons in an effort to break up the event. Small explosions can also be heard in the background of multiple videos of the events.

Protestors also attacked several police cars and attempted to topple them, cheering when they forced them to withdraw from the area, however, they did allow ambulances to pass through the demonstration unobstructed.

The Associated Press claimed that some of its journalists were physically attacked and had their camera equipment damaged for attempting to film the chaotic scenes.

Throughout the march-turned-riot, protestors were heard chanting “Liberté” which translates to ‘freedom’ in English.

Other protests against new government powers took place across Europe over the weekend. Thousands of people gathered on Saturday in the Swedish capital city Stockholm, to protest against coronavirus restrictions.

The event was carried out peacefully and the police reported no major incidents, despite suggesting before the protest began that far-right extremists would be in attendance. Protests were also held in London, Paris, Helsinki, and Athens on Saturday.


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