Clashes as police break up another illegal party in Brussels

Police made 60 arrests, several people were injured

Photo: EPA Police uses water cannons to disperse people gathering to protest against the government-imposed anti-Covid measures in Brussels

Police fired water cannon and tear gas in a Brussels park on Saturday to break up an anti-lockdown party of several hundred people designed to defy coronavirus social distancing rules. For their part, attendees threw bottles and fireworks at the police as the officers tried to disperse the gathering, called "La Boum 2," in the Bois de la Cambre park.

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 - an event that had begun as an April Fool's joke, but also ended with violent clashes.

The follow-up Boum 2 event on 1 May, 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.

Therefore, 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 after a request from Belgian prosecutors, who warned partygoers they risked being detained or fined. Several hundred people still attended.

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. As a result, the attendees began throwing bottles and fireworks at the riot police at the place.

Among the participants, 15 were injured, including one person hit by a water jet from a truck and taken to hospital, and another slightly injured by a collision with a police horse and who was treated on the spot. Three policemen were taken to hospital and around ten were slightly injured.

Sixty arrests were made, the police announced on Sunday.

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

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