Borrell and Michel have condemned the violence and supported the work of the Belgian Police
At least 70 people have been arrested this Sunday during the disturbances that occurred during a massive demonstration against the restrictions imposed by the coronavirus in the city of Brussels, which has been attended by some 50,000 people, according to the Police, 500,000 according to the convening organizations. Police have reported arrests for possession of dangerous or prohibited objects and for property damage. In addition there are several injured: twelve demonstrators and three agents, none seriously, who were taken to a hospital to receive medical attention.
The march passed without incident until 3:00 p.m., when the Police demanded the dissolution of the concentration. The organizers reported the end of the protest, but the attendees did not leave and some of them confronted the Police. In addition, a local Belgian television team Bx1 made up of a journalist and a camera has been attacked, according to the media itself. “Several individuals violently intervened while one of our teams was filming people who were lifting cobblestones to prevent images from being taken,” the outlet said. The protesters heckled and pushed the journalists and “tried to take over the camera,” according to BX1.
Among the conveners of the march are groups such as World Wide Demonstration for Freedom –Global Demonstration for Freedom– or Europeans United for Freedom –Europeans United for Freedom– in a European-wide call held in Brussels for hosting the main institutions of the EU.
The demonstration took several months of planning and finally the attendees gathered at 11:00 at the Brussels-North station. Later countries from other European countries joined. «Against the past of shame. It is unacceptable,” said a protester. «And against this muzzle that we put on. We don’t even see the smiles anymore… It’s inhumane,” he argued, quoted by the Belgian network RTL.
“It is Chinese society that we do not want,” another attendee pointed out. «The end of the individual, control, the total state… That is why we are here. Brussels is important because there is the European Commission, which is the one that decides everything”, he argued.
The march arrived at the Cinquantenaire Park around 1:45 p.m., where there were several speeches by spokespersons from Belgium and other countries on a stage set up.
condemnation of violence
Following the riots, personalities such as the Vice President of the European Commission and High Representative for EU Foreign Policy, Josep Borrell, have condemned the violence. “I strongly condemn the senseless destruction and violence during today’s demonstration in Brussels, including against the facilities of our External Action Service and the Foreign Policy Instruments Service,” Borrell posted on his Twitter account. In addition, Borrell has thanked “the women and men of the Federal Police” for their intervention.
The President of the European Council, Charles Michel, has also criticized the violence: “The right to demonstrate peacefully, to criticize or protest is sacred in our European democracies. Under no circumstances can violence be tolerated,” he said. Michel has transferred his “total support” to the security forces and to the “victims of violence and looting today in Brussels.”