'Totally unacceptable': Minister condemns riots in Brussels

'Totally unacceptable': Minister condemns riots in Brussels
Credit: Belga

The destruction in Brussels during the riots that broke out on Wednesday after a protest following the death of Ibrahima B. (23) after his arrest is "totally unacceptable," according to Interior Minister Annelies Verlinden.

While about 500 people initially demonstrated peacefully, some commotion broke out around 4:00 and people started throwing stones at the police. Later in the evening, a police station was even set on fire in Schaerbeek.

"This is, of course, totally unacceptable," she told VRT NWS on Wednesday evening. "Vandalism, arson, throwing stones at the police. Totally unheard of."

Verlinden stressed that details about the ongoing investigation could not be given, but that "everything will be done to see if anything went wrong during the intervention, but there is no indication of that to date."

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On Saturday 9 January around 7:00 PM, Ibrahima fled away from a coronavirus check on the Place du Nord.

According to the Brussels public prosecutor's office, the police intercepted him and took him to the police station for questioning.

Upon arrival at the station, Ibrahima lost consciousness and the present police officers called the emergency services to take him to the hospital, where he died at 8:22 PM.

Since then, police oversight body Committee P has opened an investigation into involuntary manslaughter.

"We will follow that up and, if necessary, take the necessary steps to also condemn misconduct by the police," Verlinden said. "But today, there is no reason to do so, and therefore there is certainly no reason for this kind of violence."

She stressed that training and instructions are provided for officers who have to deal with "these kinds of medical situations and interventions."

"We are going to see if everything was done correctly here, but I have no indication that it would not be," Verlinden added.

Maïthé Chini

The Brussels Times

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