BRUSSELS – Belgian police used water cannon and tear gas on Sunday to disperse some noisy protesters in Brussels after most of the protesters marched peacefully to protest against COVID-19 restrictions. tightening to combat the rise of coronavirus infections.
Thousands of people protested against new measures announced Friday, the third week in a row that the government tightened its rules as an avalanche of new cases strained health services. country, leaving people with other life-threatening illnesses to seek treatment.
Crying out “Freedom! Freedom!” and carrying banners that read: “Let’s unite for freedom, our rights and our children”, protesters marched to the European Union headquarters. Some people also carry signs that criticize the vaccine and are not required to have the vaccine.
The main crowd at Sunday’s mostly peaceful march dispersed as about 100 protesters clashed with riot police blocking access to the European Commission. After a brief protest against the police, protesters threw trash cans and other objects, including bicycles, at the police and set off firecrackers and flares. Police used water cannons and fired tear gas to disperse the crowd. There were no reports of casualties.
On Friday, Prime Minister Alexander De Croo announced that day care centers and primary schools would close for the holiday a week early, and that children must now wear masks from the age of six. Indoor events will only be allowed with a maximum of 200 people.
Previously, the government closed nightclubs and ordered bars and restaurants to close at 11pm for three weeks. There was a lot of speculation that the closing time would be moved to 8pm but the cabinet decided against that.
According to the latest coronavirus figures, the EU nation of 11 million people appears to have reached a plateau.
On a weekly average, 17,862 new daily cases are reported in Belgium, an increase of 6% from the previous week. Hospitalization increased by 4%. More than 3,700 people were hospitalized with the virus, 821 of them in intensive care. More than 27,000 people infected with the virus have died in Belgium since the outbreak broke out last year.