Video footage shared on social media showed water cannons and tear gas being used to break up crowds of youths at Bois de la Cambre on the outskirts of Brussels as Covid cases surge on the continent. The European nation has put in place “Alarm Level Four” lockdown rules which prevent public gatherings of more than four people. Police armed with tear gas and batons were seen charging into crowds on horseback as the crowds booed and threw bottles at police.
More footage on social media showed crowds rallying against a small group of police officers in riot gear by throwing glass bottles and sticks at them and their vans.
Around 50 people could be seen here violently protesting against the crackdown in Brussels.
Water cannons were also deployed to disperse the hundreds of people gathering in the park.
Photos published on Twitter showed bloodied officers arresting members of the crowds as police struggle to control the situation.
But new reports and footage suggest it took around half an hour to fully disperse the groups.
The gathering was promoted on Facebook as a protest against the Government’s lockdown measures but was revealed by organisers to be an April Fool’s joke.
Regardless, many still turned up for the event with officials stating police would be at the event.
Around four people were arrested and three officers injured, according to an interim report.
Attendees were mainly made up of younger people who were seen chanting, singing and drinking in the park.
News outlet France 24 spoke to some of the revellers who were fed up with the new lockdown rules.
Belgium announced a curfew and mandatory mask-wearing towards the end of March as a response to the surge in Covid cases and variants in the country.
Nightly curfews between 10pm and 6am have been put in place with “essential trips” as the only exception to the curfew.
The World Health Organisation has dubbed the European vaccination programme as “unacceptably slow” and states it is prolonging the pandemic.
The European Commission continues to grapple with the UK and pharmaceutical companies to secure more doses for the continent.
France announced it would be entering another national lockdown after new variants cause havoc for the neighbouring country.
Vaccine hesitancy in France is also on the rise with a recent YouGov poll finding 61 percent of French respondents believing the AstraZeneca vaccine is unsafe.