Police officers walk on the street during a protest against the Belgian government's restrictions imposed to contain the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Brussels, Belgium December 5, 2021 Photograph:( Reuters )
The initially peaceful march turned violent when a group of protesters in hoods started pelting stones at the police
Protests against Covid restrictions in Brussels turned violent on Sunday prompting the police to use water cannons and teargas. The protesters pelted officers with stones and fireworks.
A few thousand protesters initially marched peacefully through the centre of Belgian capital to the neighbourhood which hosts the headquarters of European Union institutions, where the demonstration reached its endpoint.
A group of protesters, wearing black hoods and chanting "liberte" (freedom) started to throw stones at the police when the protest march reached EU quarter.
Demonstrators were protesting rules imposed in October that oblige people to show COVID-19 passes to access bars and restaurants.
"I can't bear discrimination in any form, and now there's the vaccine pass which is discriminatory, sanctions for (unvaccinated) carers which are discriminatory too, there's mandatory vaccination which is heading our way," one protestor, martial arts teacher Alain Sienaort, said.
"That's all discrimination, so we have to fight it. We don't want a dictatorship."
The protest followed new measures announced on Friday to curb one of Europe's highest infection rates, including mandatory mask wearing for most primary school children and a lengthening of the school holidays.
In late November, a much larger number of demonstrators clashed violently with the police in Brussels. That led to dozens of arrests, injuries among police officers and widespread property damage.
(With inputs from agencies)