Belgian Police Use Tear Gas On COVID-19 Protesters

by The Chicago Times Staff

December 5, 2021

BRUSSELS — Belgian police used water cannons and tear gas to disperse protesters in Brussels on Sunday.

Thousands of people gathered to protest the new measures announced Friday, the third week in a row that the government has tightened its rules as new COVID cases strains the country’s health services.

Protesters marched to the European Union headquarters, chanting “Freedom! Freedom!” and carried banners that read, “United for our freedom, rights, and children.”   Following a brief standoff with police, protesters hurled trash and other objects at officers, including firecrackers and flares.  To disperse the crowd, police used water cannons and tear gas.

On Friday, Prime Minister Alexander De Croo announced that day care centers and primary schools will close a week early for the holiday, and that children as young as six will be required to wear masks.  Indoor events will be limited to a maximum of 200 people.

Since the outbreak began last year, more than 27,000 people in Belgium have died as a result of the virus.