13 people detained at anti-lockdown demonstration in Antwerp

Police in Antwerp have detained 13 people that wanted to stage a demonstration against the measures that have been put in place to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus. Around 20 people that had gathered to protest against the measures were first given a verbal warning before police detained those that had failed to disperse. A call to protest in Antwerp against what was described as the “lockdown dictatorship” had been doing the rounds on social media for the past few days. 

Those behind the protest say that the measures are an infringement of human rights. They called and those that feel the same way to gather outside the Royal Museum of Fine Arts in Antwerp on Saturday afternoon.

Antwerp police were aware of the message and were out in force. Wouter Bruyns of the Antwerp Local Police Service told VRT News "During the course of the morning we already found people that appeared to intend to protest. This was the case at Central Station and in the area around the Leopold De Waelplaats. Those that were displaying these intentions were detained”.  

Around twenty others were given a one-off verbal warning that if they returned they would be detained. “We told them that taking part in an illegal demonstration is a crime and on top of this it is contrary to the federal guideline with regard to COVID-19”, Mr Bruyns added.