Police fire water cannons and tear gas in protest of COVID in Brussels | Coronavirus pandemic news

Tens of thousands are taking part in demonstrations against COVID’s restrictions as the Omicron variant feeds a new wave of infections.

The police shot with water cannons and tear gas to disperse protesters close to the European Commission headquarters in Brussels after the protest involving about 50,000 people who oppose Covid-19 constraints has become violent.

Although Belgium announced a slight easing of coronavirus restrictions on Friday, despite record infections, the government also said people should have booster vaccines after five months to maintain COVID-19 passes, which allow them access to bars or cinemas. .

The omissions, which are mandatory for anyone wishing to enter a restaurant, museum and many other public places, have provoked fierce opposition among some Belgians.

In scenes reminiscent of similar clashes last November, when some 35,000 protesters took part in demonstrations that began peacefully but later turned violent, some streets in the Belgian capital were soon filled with tear gas on Sunday.

Some protesters set off fireworks as police marched into a nearby park where large groups of protesters had gathered. Officers wearing bulletproof vests, helmets and riot shields circled the water cannon.

protesters cross the road near a burning fireProtesters gathered in the Belgian capital to protest what they consider to be the government’s last resort to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, including a vaccine pass regulating access to certain places and activities. [Olivier Matthys/AP Photo]

A protester standing on the stage told the others to raise their hands, saying the protesters would not surrender.

“I am angry about the blackmail that the government is doing, especially for young people, but for everyone, but especially for young people, they are really blackmailing that everyone should go for the vaccine,” said Caroline van Landuitt, who was vaccinated against COVID-19.

Belgium is in the midst of a fifth wave of COVID-19 infections, with no peak expected in at least a few weeks. About 89 percent of adults in Belgium are fully vaccinated, and 67 percent have already received an additional vaccine.

“I was very angry that my children had to get the vaccine. “They want to travel, they want to do sports and they can’t do without vaccines, but they didn’t want to, it’s just blackmail,” she added.

RTL reported that masked protesters smashed a glass entrance to the office of the European Union’s foreign policy agency.

European wave Omicron

The protest comes as a wave of infections fueled by the highly contagious version of the Omicron coronavirus causes infections to reach record levels across Europe.

Organizers, including the World Demonstration for Freedom and the United for Freedom Europeans, called for people to come from other EU countries.

Flags of Poland, the Netherlands, France and Romania could be seen in the crowd.

“What has been happening since 2020 has allowed people to wake up to corruption,” said Francesca Fanara, who traveled from Lille to northern France. “I came to march together.”

“This is a health dictatorship,” said Adolfo Barbosa of Portugal. “It warms my heart to see these people here.”

The EU’s health agency said on Friday that Omicron had already become the dominant option circulating in the bloc and some neighboring countries.

Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.