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30 Brussels police officers sent to break up football game

Credit: Belga

Over 30 police officers came to break up a football game being played on Saturday evening in a move that Brussels residents say was overly aggressive.

Around 20 young people were playing football in the Versailles district of Neder-Over-Heembeek without facemasks, in violation of current coronavirus measures that only allow for ten people to gather outside while remaining a metre and a half apart from one another.

Ten police vehicles arrived on the scene with thirty officers to break up the game, chasing some of the football players through the neighborhood.

A resident who filmed the incident from their nearby apartment told Bruzz that the police action was sudden and aggressive, and the local non-profit organisation Projets Versailles claims police assaulted one of the young people in their denouncement of the incident.

Bonsoir tout le monde,

Hier sur le quartier de Versailles, vers 18h un bataillon de plus de 30 policiers a envahi l’…

Posted by Projets Versailles Asbl on Saturday, March 20, 2021

 

The Facebook post reads, in part: All that was needed was to say so and send a foot patrol to inform the young people who had complied. But to run after them through the neighbourhood as if they were game is exaggerated, just as the excess of police officers and their transport vehicles was also exaggerated. The inhabitants who witnessed this show of force were also shocked. Everyone, young and old, is in total disbelief. Was the expected result commensurate with the expectations of those who ordered the deployment? At a time when we were just beginning to establish a relationship with the police in our station and to build up trust, police officers (from outside our commune) turn up and undermine our work.

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Fines were given out to the football players, and three were taken to the police station. Brussels Capital-Ixelles police’s spokesperson zone Olivier Slosse said that one of the young people sustained an injury during the chase, and was treated at the police station.

According to Slosse, the officers of the central police zone were called by the local police, but more officers arrived at the scene than was requested, for reasons that are not clear.

Helen Lyons
The Brussels Times