WPC shows off bruises to embarrass Mayor of Brussels

Police officers in Brussels remain unhappy about the way they were allowed to deal with violent demonstrators during the big anti-government demonstration in the capital on 6 November. Officers say they didn't possess the right equipment, were not given the right orders. The Mayor of Brussels, Yvan Mayeur (Francophone socialist), is the target of much anger.

Up to 120,000 people demonstrated peacefully against the government's austerity programme, but in the media the demonstration has been derailed by the wonton violence of some 200 hotheads.

One police officer gave this account: "The war I experienced on Thursday was unprecedented. It was like guerrilla warfare. Clearly, we were cannon fodder."

A colleague said: "Normally we get equipment resembling Robocop. We didn't get it on Thursday and we were on the front line."

The Mayor of Brussels has been condemned because he allegedly took part in the demonstration, while his officers were being attacked, though Mr Mayeur has denied this was the case. A policeman told VRT News: "I believe a burgomaster should stand alongside those in charge of the police and shouldn't be on the steps of the Brussels stock exchange."

Mr Mayeur denies taking part in the demo: "They say I didn't provide sufficient equipment. It's wrong!"

What did draw a lot of ire is a tweet sent out by the burgomaster last Saturday. "Enjoying a James Bond movie" he wrote. The tweet got this reply from an officer involved in policing the demo: "I saw a great movie on Thursday: broken hand, big bruise and bruised ribs."