‘Break everything’: police prepare for new riots on Rue Neuve this week
Tuesday, 09 June 2020
After the looting and chaos that followed a peaceful Black Lives Matter protest on the Place Poelaert in Brussels on Sunday, several calls for more violence are circulating on social media.
The police fear a new gathering of rioters, after they viewed messages on social networks calling “to break everything” in the Rue Neuve, the main shopping street in the city centre, on Wednesday, reports La Libre.
The Brussels-Capital-Ixelles police zone stated that they are taking the messages seriously and that they will be vigilant, but have not given further information on what that means in practice, reports Bruzz.
Over 200 arrests were made following the static protests, as shops in the high-end Louise area were broken into and trashed as groups of rioters broke off from the mass of some 10,000 demonstrators.
Philippe Close, the mayor of the City of Brussels, who had authorised the demonstration despite the current ban on gatherings, pinned the chaos that ensued on “troublemakers and delinquents” who deliberately provoked police before “attacking shops and robbing them like common thieves.”
The organisers of the protest distanced themselves from the looters on Sunday, saying that they regretted the damage. “We do not know these people, and this is not the message we wanted to get across,” a spokesperson said, adding that “at least some of these people were members of an anarchist collective composed mainly of white people.”
On Monday, a police union filed a strike notice and asked for “zero tolerance” for instances of violence against the police.