Riot police in Brussels have been deployed to the Place de la Bourse with water cannons to disperse a demonstration by far-right protesters.
According to The Independent, hundreds of people had assembled in the large public square to peacefully remember the 31 victims of last Tuesday’s terror attacks, when hundreds of men – some wearing masks and balaclavas – barged to the centre and hijacked the peaceful rally.
— BBC Breaking News (@BBCBreaking) March 27, 2016
Far right protestors take over Brussels square where people lay flowers for terror victims pic.twitter.com/ZaUi8JsEr6
— Rory Mulholland (@mulhollandrory) March 27, 2016
The group of men headed to the steps of the nearby stock exchange building and began chanting anti-ISIS slogans. Up to 1,000 hooligans wearing black took over the square, public broadcaster RTBF reported.
Brussels right now. Riot police forming a cordon around two groups of protesters in Place de la Bourse. pic.twitter.com/tjMD8NxNyv
— Jon Jensen (@jonjensenCNN) March 27, 2016
According to reports, members of the group made Nazi salutes and were confronting ethnic minority groups, with some throwing flares.
Riot police moving in en made on right wing counter protest in Brussels pic.twitter.com/QOLRZUpmYk
— melissa block (@NPRmelissablock) March 27, 2016
— Ali Kheradpir (@AliKheradpir) March 27, 2016
The police were joined by riot squads to help resolve the situation, and after the group ignored requests to disperse water canons were used.
— Clarissa Ward (@clarissaward) March 27, 2016
Tensions rise in Brussels as riot police deploy water cannon against far-right protesters in Place de la Bourse https://t.co/RcoReSA64J
— Sky News (@SkyNews) March 27, 2016
The remaining members of the peaceful vigil cheered as the far-right group were driven off. Adrian Liston, who was present at the rally, told the BBC the memorial was disrupted by a ‘bunch of skinheads’ who had turned up ‘in force’.
They marched into the square and started a major confrontation with the peace protesters.
At this point they were really starting to get in the face of the peace protesters, the face of the police, setting off flares, setting off fireworks, and chanting stuff that was really quite ugly.