The incident happened at the weekend, when a police officer wanted to speak with a member of the public, who wasn’t wearing a face covering in public, though this is mandatory across the Brussels Region. The policeman, who was patrolling on his bike, noticed the individual, but when the officer approached, with a view to speaking to the man, the culprit absconded. The officer managed to track him down in the entrance of a block of flats, where a tussle ensued. The officer struggled to restrain the man - who landed on top of him - until re-enforcements appeared. The officer sustained minor injuries.
The suspect was questioned, but subsequently released. Prosecutors stress that freeing the man does not mean there is impunity for this offence. The investigation will continue and further action may follow.
The previous weekend too was marred by several incidents across the Brussels Region. Belgian home affairs minister Annelies Verlinden (Flemish Christian democrat) indicated that the authorities would come forward as an interested party and claim damages in any similar legal case.