Police break up illegal mass gathering in Brussels


At least 26 police officers were injured while breaking up an illegal mass gathering in Brussels attended by over a thousand people in spite of coronavirus restrictions.

The officers were injured during an operation on Thursday to disperse a large crowd that gathered in the Bois de la Cambre park on the south side of the Belgian capital, dpa news agency reported.

Water cannons and mounted policemen were deployed.

According to estimates by authorities, some 1,500 to 2,000 people gathered in the Bois de la Cambre, where they violated distance and hygiene measures.

In a video published by the public broadcaster RTBF, police could be heard asking people to disperse.

The clashes reportedly took place after the loudspeaker announcement.

The security forces were pelted with bottles from the sometimes aggressive crowd, and some were cornered by the greater number of rioters.

At least one officer was hit in the head and taken to hospital, the Belgian Belga news agency reported citing the police.

Last week, Prime Minister Alexander de Croo announced stricter Covid-19 containment measures, which he dubbed an “Easter break” or “cooling-down period”.

The maximum number of people allowed to gather outdoors was reduced from 10 to four.

Over the last week the country has recorded a daily average of 4,742 cases in a 9 per cent increase compared to the previous seven-day period.

In total over 882,000 Covid-19 cases and more than 23,000 deaths have been recorded.