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200 arrests at Brussels anti-coronavirus protests

Credit: Belga/Nicolas Maeterlinck

Around 200 people have already been arrested in Brussels for participating coronavirus protests in the city, despite announcements from officials and police that the gatherings did not have approval.

Despite this lack of permit, many flocked to the North and Central stations, only to be met with a large police presence, with hundreds of riot police deployed around the Central Station and at the Mont des Arts.

“At the Heysel, this remained very limited, and whoever shows up there we advise against staying,” Olivier Slosse, spokesman for the Brussels Capital Ixelles police zone told local media.

“But at the Central Station, we see that a number of people did turn up. That’s why the police immediately proceeded to carry out checks there. At around 12:30 p.m. the counter had already reached 200 arrests, including a large number of soccer supporters.

The demonstrators present at the station are surrounded by a large perimeter and were thus held together. Speaking on Twitter, police advised against lingering at the station.

“We remind you that there is no permission to come and demonstrate. We strongly advise you not to come to the Atomium or Brussels Central Station,” the tweet read. “Persons who nevertheless intend to demonstrate in Brussels today will be addressed, advised not to remain on the ground and, if necessary, administratively arrested.”

In the stations of Brussels North and Brussels Central, the police were present from the beginning to control or immediately arrest people getting off the train. Among them were many soccer fans, the police confirmed.

Last Sunday, incidents occurred after an unauthorised demonstration against class justice at the Mont des Arts in Brussels. The demonstration itself went smoothly, but the police then proceeded to make administrative arrests of 245 people. Some of them reported acts of violence by police officers.

The Brussels Times