Brussels police move to block anti-lockdown demos
Police in the Belgian capital said Sunday they have detained scores of people in a bid to prevent two banned demonstrations against measures to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
“We are above 200 arrested at the moment,” mainly around the rail stations in Brussels, a police spokesman said around midday.
Police evacuated one square in front of the main railway station, where some of the protesters were football supporters from Belgian clubs.
Dozens of people, responding to calls on social media for protests against measures to check the coronavirus, also began gathering at the Atomium, a landmark building in Brussels.
“We remind you that there is no authorisation to come and demonstrate this Sunday,” the Brussels police said in a Tweet.
“Those people who still intend to demonstrate in Brussels today will be approached, dissuaded from staying and if necessary” detained, it said.
Belgium has registered one of the highest death rates in the world during the coronavirus pandemic, but restrictions closing bars and restaurants since October along with a nighttime curfew have brought infection and hospital cases down in the past two months.
The country last week banned non-essential trips in and out of the country until March 1.
Belgium’s neighbour the Netherlands was rocked by anti-curfew riots last week.
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