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Ugly scenes at the end of Sunday’s protest against the coronavirus measures

The end of Sunday’s demonstration against the coronavirus measures was marred by violence as a small minority of the tens of thousands of protests vandalised cars and buildings in Brussels European District. The demonstration in which the Brussels-Capital-Elsene Local Police Service say 50,000 participants had taken part had up until then passed without incident. 

Demonstrators from Belgium and across Europe had heeded the call to protest against what they see as attacks on freedom and constitutional rights stemming from the measures that have been in force to try and curb the spread of coronavirus during the past two years.

The demonstration got under way just after 11am from Brussels North Railway station. The tens of thousands of protesters made their way along Brussels’ Inner Ring Road and the Belliardstraat to the Jubelpark where they were able to hear speeches from leading opponents of the measures that are in force in countries across Europe and elsewhere. 

There was a large police presence that had been deployed to, amongst other things, prevent the demonstrators from veering off the approved route and making their way to the Schuman Square and the many important EU buildings that surround it. As the march was nearing its conclusion small groups of trouble-makers damaged vehicles and buildings that house EU institutions. They clashed with police near to the Schuman Square and the part of the Wetstraat that leads from the square to the park. Police were pelted with missiles, and they used two watercannon to try and drive the trouble makers off the street and into the park.

Meanwhile, many thousands of other people that had taken part in the demonstration were peacefully listening to the speeches that were being given from a stage set up under the Triumph Arch at the other end of the park. 

Shortly after 3pm the police asked the demonstrators that were in the park to go home. By around 4pm police were using watercannon at tear gas to try and clear the park. 

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