Police break up anti-lockdown party in Brussels

WION Web Team
New Delhi Published: May 02, 2021, 01:59 AM(IST)

A man is doused by a water cannon during clashes as people gather at the Bois de la Cambre/Ter Kamerenbos park for a party called "La Boum 2" in defiance of Belgium's coronavirus disease (COVID-19) social distancing measures and restrictions, in Brussels, Belgium May 1, 2021. Photograph:( AFP )

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The crowd of mostly young people responded to a post on Facebook announcing the unauthorised party.

Police broke up an anti-lockdown party in Brussels on Saturday using water canon and tear gas. The assembly took place in Brussels park and was attended by several hundred people.

The crowd of mostly young people responded to a post on Facebook announcing the unauthorised party. It took place a month after police cleared 2,000 people who gathered in the same Bois de la Cambre park for la Boum (the party), an event that had begun as an April Fool's joke.

The follow-up Boum 2 event on May 1, a traditional day for demonstrations, was held a week before the Belgian government allows cafe and bar terraces to open and lets groups of more than four people meet outside in a relaxation of COVID-19 rules.

Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo on Friday urged Belgians to stay united and not "fall into this trap".

Facebook also took down the Boum 2 post on Thursday after a request from Belgian prosecutors, who warned partygoers they risked being detained or fined

Police said several hundred people still attended.

Emile Breuillot, a 23-year-old dental student, said he had come to see people enjoy themselves and to defend their rights to gather.

After a calm start with groups chanting "freedom", the police announced on social media that attendees were not observing public safety measures and that they would intervene. Many people were not wearing masks, a requirement anywhere in public in the Belgian capital.

Hundreds of people also marched in central Brussels and through the eastern city of Liege demanding a relaxation of coronavirus measures.

(With inputs from agencies)

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