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Many injured as police break up illegal mass gathering in Brussels

01 April 2021, Belgium, Brussels: An injured policeman arrests a protester at the Bois de La Cambre - Ter Kamerenbos as Brussels local police start the evacuation of the Park. Photo: Hatim Kaghat/BELGA/dpa
01 April 2021, Belgium, Brussels: An injured policeman arrests a protester at the Bois de La Cambre – Ter Kamerenbos as Brussels local police start the evacuation of the Park. Photo: Hatim Kaghat/BELGA/dpa

(dpa) – Numerous police officers were injured in breaking up an illegal mass gathering in Brussels attended by over a thousand people in spite of coronavirus restrictions, the Belga news agency reported on Thursday evening.

At least 26 officers were injured during an operation to disperse a large crowd that gathered in the Bois de la Cambre park on the south side of the Belgian capital, the agency reported citing a police spokesman.

Water cannons and mounted policemen were deployed.

According to estimates by authorities, some 1,500 to 2,000 people gathered in the Bois de la Cambre, where they violated distance and hygiene measures.

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.

The security forces were pelted with bottles from the sometimes aggressive crowd, and some were cornered by the greater number of rioters.

At least one officer was hit in the head and taken to hospital, Belga reported citing the police.

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Last week, Belgian Prime Minister Alexander de Croo announced stricter Covid-19 containment measures, which he dubbed an “Easter break” or “cooling-down period.”

The maximum number of people allowed to gather outdoors was reduced from 10 to four.

Over the last week the country has recorded a daily average of 4,742 cases in a 9-per-cent increase compared to the previous seven-day period. In total over 882,000 infections and more than 23,000 Covid-19-related deaths have been recorded.

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