The videos of violence committed by the Belgian police during the dispersal of a party prohibited against health measures on May 1 arouse strong indignation in Belgium.
Already targeted by criticism for violence deemed disproportionate against demonstrators during a rally banned in Brussels in April, the Belgian police are again in the hot seat for their management of the second part of the party against health measures on May 1.
Organized in the Bois de la Cambre, the party gathered, according to the authorities, between 1,000 and 2,000 people before being dispersed with heavy blasts of water cannon and tear gas. About fifteen people were injured, including one by water cannon fire, as well as thirteen police officers, as the daily reports. The evening. Several images of alleged police abuse have been disseminated on social media and have met a large audience, although the circumstances of these acts are not clearly established at this stage.
In one of the videos, a man is seen raising his arms before being sprayed with tear gas, attacked by a police dog, pinned to the ground and finally knocked to the ground as he tried to stand up. According to RTL Belgium, this scene took place in “Uccle, at the crossroads between Chaussée de Waterloo and Avenue de la Clairière”.
The Belgian television channel suggests however that the man held in his hand before his arrest an object which could be a hammer, without certainty at this stage. “We are looking at this internally to see in what context the facts unfolded,” said police spokeswoman Ilse Van De Keere, interviewed by television.
Asked about another video in which we see police hitting and spraying tear gas on young people without them appearing to be committing violence (at least physical), the policewoman explained that “everything must be seen in the context” . “There are sometimes images that circulate which give part of the intervention”, she added, ensuring that the images were examined “internally”.
Chanting “freedom!”, The revelers expressed their exasperation after more than a year of restrictions linked to the health crisis. They had gathered despite threats from the authorities, the police and the judiciary that the participants were liable to prosecution. The event’s Facebook page was removed at the request of the authorities.
There were 132 arrests, according to a report provided by the authorities on May 2. The socialist mayor of Brussels said he regretted the excesses even though a dozen other gatherings took place in the Belgian capital on the occasion of the workers’ day that day.