Several demonstrations against stricter coronavirus measures went forward in Brussels on Sunday, drawing hundreds of people to the unauthorised gatherings and leading to 71 arrests, police said.
One demonstration against the “Covid-19 dictatorship,” which failed to get authorisation from the city, called on protesters to gather in Rond Point Schuman, where police on Friday said they were expecting large groups to turn up.
Police said they arrested just over a dozen people who came to the protest carrying fireworks or box cutters,” a police spokesperson told Belgian media.
Some 200 demonstrators then moved to gather in the Parc du Cinquantenaire, where riot police were deployed to break up the gathering, leading to several more arrests, the spokesperson said.
The gathering was organised by an anonymous Facebook group called Black Sheep Belgium to denounce the “freedom-killing” restrictions imposed by authorities to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
A separate gathering in Gare du Nord drew a separate group of some 200 people too, police said, where social distancing measures where not being followed.
“Safety measures were not always respected and we issued reminders at several times, including via the organisers,” a police representative said.
In total, 71 people were arrested, out of which 66 were administrative detentions leading to no charges, and five which led to judiciary procedures.
The Brussels Times