Thousands of protesters angry at pandemic restrictions marched through European Union headquarters in Brussels and had minor arguments with police over their unauthorized rally

BRUSSELS – Thousands of protesters angry at restrictions linked to the pandemic marched at the European Union’s headquarters in Brussels on Saturday and had minor arguments with police over their unauthorized rally.

The crowd initially gathered in a Brussels park for a party designed to flout COVID-19 rules in Belgium and a related rally calling on Europeans to reclaim their freedom. Participants then walked to the Belgian capital district which is home to key EU buildings.

The police blocked them and dispersed the demonstrators in the early evening after slight clashes.

Similar anti-lockdown parties in recent weeks in the Bois de La Cambre have drawn thousands of people and led to clashes with police who used tear gas and water cannons to disperse rowdy crowds, resulting in many arrests and injured.

Belgium has been hit particularly hard by the virus, and although hospitalization and death rates improve as vaccinations increase, the country still has strict rules banning most gatherings and requiring face masks in public areas. large crowds.

“We are tired because the COVID crisis has led to more hours of work in hospitals, less hours of rest. A lot of free time has been canceled to take care of patients “, helps Justine Lombard, medical assistant who participated in the rally on Saturday.” It was normal, and everyone was happy to do it because it’s our job, that’s what we signed, but people have to realize that this situation cannot last any longer. “

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