A group of demonstrators and rioters on the Avenue Tervuren behind Cinquantenaire Park in Brussels continued late on Sunday afternoon to resist police orders to disperse following a massive rally against Covid-related measures.
Riot police had earlier evacuated the park, where most of the estimated 50,000 demonstrators gathered earlier Sunday afternoon, but protesters continued to cause damage and start fires around the area.
At about 15:15, the organisers of the protest, speaking from a podium, called on the demonstrators to leave the park. Under pressure from police, most attendees complied. But by 16:15, some protesters had congregated in the avenue behind the park.
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Shortly after, the police announced on Twitter that the area would be evacuated. “If you remain behind, you risk being placed under arrest,” it warned.
However, the last protesters showed no sign of leaving, Belga News Agency reported almost an hour later: “A cat-and-mouse game with the riot police continues on Avenue Tervuren. Any police vehicle that comes too close to the crowd is targeted.”
Sunday's demonstration was the fifth in two months against the health measures taken to stem the spread of the Coronavirus. It was also the fifth time that the protests were marred by unrest.