Clashes as Belgians protest against health measures - RTHK
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Clashes as Belgians protest against health measures

2021-12-06 HKT 03:46
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  • Protesters and riot police at the demonstration in Brussels. Photo: AP
    Protesters and riot police at the demonstration in Brussels. Photo: AP
Belgian police fired water cannon and used tear gas Sunday to disperse protesters opposed to compulsory health measures against the coronavirus pandemic.

Around 8,000 people marched through Brussels towards the headquarters of the European Union, chanting "Freedom!" and letting off fireworks.

The crowd was smaller than the 35,000 vaccine and lockdown sceptics who marched last month, and police were better prepared.

Protesters were blocked from reaching the roundabout outside the EU headquarters by a barbed wire barricade and a line of riot officers.

As two drones and a helicopter circled overhead, they threw fireworks and beer cans. Police responded with water cannon and tear gas.

As the crowd dispersed into smaller groups around the European quarter, there were more clashes and some set fire to barricades of rubbish.

Police said two of their officers and four protesters had been hospitalised, and 20 people had been arrested.

Several European countries have seen demonstrations in recent weeks as governments respond to a surge in covid cases with tighter restrictions.

In Brussels, the organisers hoped to match the November 21 demo, in which police seemed caught off guard and there were violent clashes. (AFP)