Police arrest 90 following anti-migration protest

Summary

While the march and rally against the UN’s Global Compact on Migration went smoothly yesterday, the after-party got out of hand, leading to vandalism and 90 arrests

‘Not responsible for riots’

The March Against Marrakesh took place yesterday in Brussels after far-right groups got the go-ahead from the Council of State. Brussels-City mayor and the minister-president of the capital-region had refused a protest permit, but the march organisers took the decision to the Council of State, which overturned it on Friday evening.

Some 5,500 people turned up for the march, which was organised largely by student organisations such as KVHV and Schild & Vrienden. Political party Vlaams-Belang and its youth club were at the head of the march, which began at Central Station and ended with a rally on Schumanplein.

The march went smoothly until after the speeches, which worked up the crowd. Football hooligans also showed up during this time in Schumanplein. As the speeches ended at 14.00, violent clashes with police began.

Windows were smashed, fires started, infrastructure destroyed and objects thrown at riot police. Police used tear gas and water cannons to disperse the crowds, arresting some 90 people. One officer was injured as were a number of protestors, though none seriously, according to reports.

“Our rally was finished,” said Dries Van Langenhove of Schild & Vrienden. “We are in no way responsible for the riots that followed.”

Another rally took place, meanwhile, at Maximiliaan Park, where about 1,000 people showed up for a counter-protest. Some of the group had spent the last 48 hours arranging for the migrants sleeping in the park to be elsewhere on Sunday, out of fear for their safety.

Photo: Jonas Roosens/BELGA