Riots at Schaerbeek school: police use tear gas on protesting parents

Riots at Schaerbeek school: police use tear gas on protesting parents

Protestors gathered outside of a school in Schaerbeek on Tuesday were met with tear gas from the Brussels police after a riot broke out in front of the gates.

The riotous behaviour initially broke out after an initial investigation into the alleged abuse of a 4-year-old girl in the Schaerbeek school found no evidence to support the theory.

Around 14:00, about 50 members of the police drove the rioting crowd out from in front of the school to the end of the street. "Several windows of the school were smashed, and windows of two police cars too," said the spokesperson for police zone Brussels North to Bruzz. "Around 14:30 the police had to use tear gas. One person fell to the ground and had to be taken to the hospital," she added.

The parents do not believe that there was no evidence of sexual abuse, and demand a counter-investigation. "A young girl cannot get an infection that makes her bleed this way," they said. A committee of parents has already hired a lawyer.

The Schaerbeek mayor Bernard Clerfayt (Défi) called on everyone to remain calm. "There is no reason to question the school, the safety of the children or the pedagogical framework," he said to Bruzz. “The school remains a place where the children will be taken care of, and I call on the parents to keep their faith. A meeting with the parents is planned for Thursday," he added.

Although the Brussels public prosecutor had reported on Tuesday morning that there was no evidence to prove any offences, a furious mass gathered for the school on Tuesday for the second day in a row. The more than 150 protestors pelted the police with eggs and other projectiles hit traffic signs and shouted "school of paedophiles".

"We thank everyone who supports us in this difficult period," said the girl's mother at the European Observatory for Democracy and Peace (EODP), a platform for citizen journalism. "We want to know what happened, and where those in charge of the school were, so that this cannot happen again. We will stay here until justice is done," she added.

Maïthé Chini
The Brussels Times

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