Four police officers injured during corona checks; Justice and Interior Minister step in
Three police officers have sustained injuries in the Brussels municipality of Elsene when they were attacked during a corona check. Footage of the incident was spread on social media. Justice Minister Vincent Van Quickenborne will ask magistrates why they decided to release the offenders so quickly. Interior Minister Annelies Verlinden announced extra means for the police force to counter this kind of violence.
The incident took place arond 5 P.M. yesterday when police addressed a group of about ten youngsters. They were not wearing a mouth mask and it also forbidden to come together in groups.
The routine corona check soon ran out of hand. The three police officers were attacked by by-standers, although others intervened to keep the assailants at bay. "One colleague sustained a head injury, another one a hand injury. All three are unfit to work for at least a week", Olivier Slosse of the Brussels police said.
Three people were apprehended. "It is clear that our efforts to make people comply with the corona measures - a curfew applies as from 10 P.M. in Brussels, and people have to wear a mouth mask in public places - are putting a strain on relations between local residents and police in certain districts", Slosse added. "But we will keep addressing those flouting the rules."
Later today, it emerged that another incident took place in the Aarschotstraat in Sint-Joost-ten-Node, where a man attacked a female police officer during a corona check. She is unfit to work for at least a week.
It's a real disgrace
The news that the three offenders that were taken in for questioning, were soon released, sparked fury with the police union NSVP. "It's a real disgrace that police are being attacked when they just try to have people comply with the rules. But it's an even bigger disgrace when it turns out that this behaviour is left unpunished," said Carlo Medo of the NSVP.
Mr Medo added that "we see a tendency of police being attacked by gangs in bigger cities." He wants a stricter approach by the judicial authorities.
The new federal Justice Minister Vincent Van Quickenborne told the Sunday morning TV show "De zevende dag" that "such attacks cannot be tolerated. (...) If the investigation reveals punishable acts, than these these people should be taken to court and punished", he said, adding that he will ask the judicial authorities to explain exactly why they decided to release the offenders so quickly.
Interior Minister Annelies Verlinden also reacted later during the day, saying this kind of violence cannot be tolerated. She announced extra means for the police force to clamp down on this kind of problems.
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