Four people were arrested for rebellion, assault and battery against police officers and failure to comply with coronavirus measures following an illegal party in a Brussels’ park.
Water cannon and mounted police officers dispersed a crowd of some 2,000 people, according to police figures, from the Bois de la Cambre park located in the south of the Belgian capital on Thursday evening.
The mass gathering was triggered by an April Fools’ joke event posted on Facebook that spiralled out of control, Brussels public prosecutors’ office confirmed to dpa.
On top of the four arrests, one person will have to appear in court for assault and battery against police officers resulting in incapacity to work, according to a statement sent out by the same public prosecutor’s office on Friday.
Twenty-six officers were injured during an operation to disperse a large crowd that gathered in the on the south side of the Belgian capital, local police spokesperson Olivier Slosse told dpa on Friday.
Police were aware of eight party-goers that sustained injuries, Slosse said, with two taken to hospital.
In a video published by the public broadcaster RTBF, police could be heard asking people to disperse. The clashes reportedly took place after the loudspeaker announcement.
At least one officer was hit in the head and taken to hospital, Belga reported citing the police. Security forces were pelted with bottles from the sometimes aggressive crowd, and some were cornered by rioters.
Prime Minister Alexander De Croo, who last week tightened Covid-19 containment measures amid a fresh surge in cases, said Thursday’s events were “unacceptable.”
“I understand the fatigue in the face of the virus, but rules are put in place for a reason. They apply to everyone,” he tweeted on Friday. “Hospitals are filling up. Showing solidarity today is the key to our freedom tomorrow.”
At the present, the maximum number of people allowed to gather outdoors in Belgium is four.
Over the last week the country has recorded a daily average of 4,814 cases in an 11-per-cent increase compared to the previous seven-day period. In total some 888,000 infections and more than 23,000 Covid-19-related deaths have been recorded.
Brussels – dpa