14 arrested for Brussels riots following death of Ibrahima
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14 arrested for Brussels riots following death of Ibrahima

Photo taken during the demonstration on 13 January, following the death of Ibrahima. Credit: Belga/Juliette Bruynseels

14 people have been arrested for their actions during the riots after the demonstration that took place in the Schaerbeek neighbourhood of Brussels last month, following the death of Ibrahima (23) who died about an hour after he was arrested.

Some of the charges include deliberate arson at night on an occupied building, armed rebellion by multiple persons with prior meditation, property damage and vehicle damage, according to the Brussels public prosector’s office.

Seven of the suspects arrested are adults, two of whom have been released but are still under investigation. The other seven are minors, and were put at the disposal of the magistrates of the youth divisions of the prosecutors’ offices of Brussels, Halle-Vilvoorde, Namur and Verviers, with a view to arraignment before the youth courts.

Roughly 500 demonstrators gathered at the Brussels North police station to protest Ibrahima Barrie’s death back in January – far more than the 100 attendees permitted by the Saint-Josse-ten-Noode mayor Emir Kir.

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The crowd advanced from there to the Place Liedts in Schaerbeek, where they smashed the windows of the police station, and even set one on fire.

Initially, the demonstration took place peacefully, but around 4:00 PM some commotion broke out and several people started throwing stones and small firecrackers at the police, who deployed a water cannon several times.

The organisers of the demonstration tried in vain to calm people down. In the meantime, the window of a police car was smashed, and small fires were started in a few places.

A task force was formed in the aftermath in order to track down the perpetrators of the violence and vandalism, and 100 police officers raided 15 different addresses in Brussels at the same time, as well as addresses in Aalst, Beersel and Sint-Pieters-Leeuw (all in Flanders) on Wednesday, according to the public prosecutor’s office.

Police used footage from cameras in the Schaerbeek neighbourhood, among other things, to look for suspects.

The efforts to identify further suspects are ongoing.

Helen Lyons & Maïthé Chini
The Brussels Times