COVID-19: Riot police deploy water cannons and tear gas against anti-containment protesters in Brussels

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COVID-19: Riot police deploy water cannons and tear gas against anti-containment protesters in Brussels


Belgian police have used tear gas and water cannons on protesters in Brussels to disperse crowds protesting against new coronavirus restrictions.

Thousands of people gathered to reject the new measures introduced by the government on Friday, the third week in a row the measures were tightened, following a recent increase in COVID-19[feminine[feminine case.

Most of the protesters marched peacefully, with some carrying placards criticizing COVID-19 vaccinations and the compulsory vaccination. Several were accompanied by children.

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Thousands of demonstrators denounced the new containment measures on Sunday. Photo: AP

Shout “Freedom! Freedom ! And carrying banners saying “United for our freedom, our rights and our children”, the demonstrators marched to the headquarters of the European Union.

The main crowd had largely dispersed when around 100 protesters clashed with a barricade of police wearing riot gear protecting access to the European Commission.

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The protests had been mostly peaceful before some clashed with riot police. Photo: AP

According to the Associated Press news agency, after a brief standoff, protesters began throwing trash and other items – including a bicycle – at police.

Protesters set off firecrackers and flares, while police used water cannons and tear gas to disperse the crowds. No injuries were immediately reported.

Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo announced on Friday that day care centers and primary schools would close a week earlier for the Christmas holidays.

Mr De Croo added that children must wear masks from the age of six and that indoor events would be limited to a maximum of 200 people.

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Several people took their children to the demonstration. Photo: AP

Nightclubs have already been ordered to close and the government has ordered bars and restaurants to close at 11 p.m. for three weeks.

Despite speculation that closing hours would be brought forward to 8 p.m., ministers decided not to do so.

Protesters march in a protest against coronavirus measures in Brussels, Belgium on Sunday, December 5, 2021. Hundreds of people marched through central Brussels on Sunday to protest against the tightening of COVID-19 restrictions imposed by the Belgian government to counter the latest peak in coronavirus cases.  (AP Photo / Geert Vanden Wijngaert)
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Some of the signs expressed opposition to the vaccines. Photo: AP

According to the latest national health figures, cases in Belgium seem to have reached a plateau.

On a weekly average, 17,862 daily new cases were reported in Belgium, an increase of 6% from the previous week, the Associated Press reported.

A girl offers flowers to riot police during a demonstration against coronavirus measures in Brussels, Belgium, Sunday, December 5, 2021. Hundreds of people marched through central Brussels on Sunday to protest against the tightening of COVID-19 restrictions imposed by the Belgian government to counter the latest peak in coronavirus cases.  (AP Photo / Geert Vanden Wijngaert)
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A little girl was pictured offering flowers to police in riot gear. Photo: AP

Hospital admissions rose 4%, leaving more than 3,700 people hospitalized with COVID, including 821 in intensive care.

More than 27,000 people infected with the virus have died in Belgium, which has 11 million inhabitants, since the start of the epidemic last year.

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