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Belgium in Brief: 500 Arrests, 0 Locked Up

The most recent figures coming out of the “unapproved” protests in Brussels this weekend say that while the police do not know exactly how many people were there, they arrested 500 people.

According to news from the weekend, police were out en masse in the city, something that had already been announced well in advance.

“The arrests were made because the people took part in a protest that was not authorised,” Ilse Van de Keere, spokesperson for the Brussels-Capital Ixelles police zone, told The Brussels Times. “We announced in advance that the protests were not allowed to take place, and we also communicated this clearly via Twitter.”

Of the 500 people arrested – 0 spent the night in the cells.

They were arrested, their ID recorded and taken to the station, but none of them were locked up for the night.

“They were all administratively arrested, which means that we recorded their identities, and have drawn up an official report,” she said. “After that, they were allowed to leave.”

So what do you think of the anti measure protests currently hitting Europe?

Is it just?

Just incorrect?

Or is there a better way?

Let @johnstonjules know on Twitter.

Belgium in Brief is a free daily roundup of the top stories to get you through your lunch break conversations. To receive it straight to your inbox every day, sign up below:

1. Here’s what changes today, 1 February

February is the perfect month: This year the month of February aligns perfectly with our calendar, being a month of 28 days, four weeks of seven days each starting on Monday and running to Sunday. The phenomenon is unique to February. Here is what changes.

2. 500 protesters arrested at Brussels Covid-19 rally, none in jail

About 500 people were arrested by the Brussels police during the protest against Belgium’s coronavirus measures on Sunday, but all of them were released again.

The protests – which had been called for via social media – were not permitted by the local authorities, as there was no guarantee the Covid-19 measures could be respected, but a number of groups were present, ranging from football supporters to Gilets Jaunes, according to the police. Read More.

3. New French measures pose problems for Belgium’s essential travellers

New measures announced in France to fight against the spread of the coronavirus are posing questions for the remaining Belgians still able to travel under the current border rules in the country.

According to the news French rules – which went into force on Sunday – people arriving in the country from an EU country will have to provide a PCR test, something which is causing issues for those who live close to the border – or who can cross it under one of Belgium’s essential reasons. Read more.

4. Once hairdressers reopen, they should stay open, says De Croo

A possible reopening of the contact professions, which the consultation committee will consider again on 5 February, should not be temporary, according to Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo on Sunday.

“If hairdressers reopen, it must be for good. We don’t want a yo-yo effect,” De Croo told VRT, stressing that since the start of the wave, Belgium has tried to ensure stable measures, unlike other countries where further restrictions have been required after relaxations. Read More.

5. An entire Belgian police zone placed in quarantine

The 103 staff members of the police zone of eastern Walloon Brabant have been placed in quarantine, after several people were contaminated with coronavirus, its spokesman said Saturday evening.

Four positive cases had been detected last week, justifying a request for testing of all staff, starting Friday. The first results establish that four additional agents are infected, including some by the British variant of the disease. Read More.

6. Tournée Minérale: Belgians challenged to alcohol-free February for fifth year in a row

The fifth edition of “Tournée Minérale” – a challenge for Belgians not to drink alcohol during the entire month of February – kicks off on Monday.

The Tournée Minérale campaign – a play on “tournée générale”, a term used to signify rounds for everyone – was launched in 2017 by the Cancer Foundation to warn against the harm caused by alcohol. Read More.

7. Risk of flooding in Belgium continues ahead of warmer temperatures

The risk of flooding continues in Belgium, while the weather is expected to clear up on Monday afternoon ahead of higher temperatures in the coming days, according to the Royal Meteorological Institute (RMI).

On Monday morning, cloud cover will remain heavy over all areas with light rainfall, the RMI said. During the course of the day, the weather will often become dry but there will still be a risk of flooding, especially in the south of the country. Read More.

Jules Johnston
The Brussels Times

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