A procession of 4,800 pedestrians and 385 tractors left Gare du Nord train station at approximately 11:15am, and joined up with farmers waiting for them at Rond-Point Schuman, in front of Brussels’ European institutions buildings, revealed Ilse Van de Keere, spokesperson for Brussels police. Previous estimates hovered between 2,000 and 3,000 protesters. Two policemen were injured during the event, one of whom was hospitalised with a leg injury, whilst the other was tended to on site. No arrests were made.
Police forces are unaware of any injuries amongst protesters. Ilse Van de Keere mentions incidents at Rond-Point Schuman where farmers attempted to use tractors to break through police roadblocks from 11:00am. They were repelled with water cannons. Projectiles, mainly eggs, were also thrown at police forces. Ilse Keere believes organisers will have a more precise estimate of the total numbers involved, but according to her, 4,800 marching protesters and a total of 1,455 tractors were recorded in the capital, which amounts to over 7,000 participants.
Brussels Alderman Yvan Mayeur who went through Rue Belliard, claims “the protest was a calm one in general. French farmers seem somewhat nervous. Police intervened at the bottom of Rue Belliard, close to Place Jean Rey. But everything was soon back to normal.” The procession had to zigzag around hundreds of tractors parked along Rue Belliard before reaching Rond-Point Schuman. Protesters lit several fires along this road.
Christopher Vincent (Source: Belga)