488 people detained at demonstration against coronavirus measures

A total of 488 people were detained at a demonstration against the restrictions that are currently in force to curb the spread of coronavirus. Around 300 of these were detained prior to Sunday’s demonstration that was unauthorised and as such illegal. Among those detained by police near to Brussels Central Station were people in possession of illegal weapons including a catapult.

Some of those detained were also found to be carrying fireworks. Meanwhile, at the Heizel, the other rendezvous for protesters, police reported that most of the protesters there left after their identity had been checked. A few protesters that refused to leave were handcuffed.  

There was a huge police presence around Brussels-Central Station and the Kunstberg on Sunday afternoon. Hundreds of officers from the local and federal police services took part in the operation to prevent the illegal demonstration from taking place. Dozens of police vans lined the streets. At Brussels North Station too there was a large police presence to intercept protesters that had arrived there on there way to the city centre.

By 1pm on Sunday around 350 demonstrators had been detained. All of them were taking into preventive custody in order to stop them from taking part in the unauthorised protest. The demonstrators were a very diverse group ranging from Yellow Vest campaigners, to football supporters from a number of Belgian First Division clubs. A number of far-right groups had also called on their followers to join the protest. The protesters that included both Flemings and Francophones had responded to a call to protest that had been circulated on social media.  

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