Questionable orders, faulty equipment and a lot of bad luck. These three things are what caused the national demonstration in Brussels on the 6th of November to turn into riots, during which 120 officers were injured. This comes from an internal evaluation report by the police that De Standaard and Het Nieuwsblad were able to look at. The document describes the environment for the police caught up in the clashes that day as “war-like”. Seeing officers in combat gear wound the demonstrators up, according to the report.
The attitude of officers was not criticized. “Though the police was the target of extremely hostile violence, officers reacted with calm, courage and self-sacrifice. The biggest problem wasn’t their attitude, but their equipment”, the report says.
Law enforcement officers also say there was insufficient pressure in the water cannons, whose reservoirs ran out in less than five minutes. Their pepper sprays didn’t spray far enough, and their round shields were too small.
The document will be discussed on Wednesday during a Consultation committee.