The protest turned violent as rioters attacked police, who were in turn forced to use water cannons to disperse the violent mob,
according to the local news outlet 7sur7.
“After the rally, troublemakers and delinquents deliberately provoked the police and destroyed the street furniture. They then went after stores to rob them like common thieves. I immediately asked the police to disperse the [looters] and arrest them,” said Brussels Mayor Philippe Close.
The mayor came under fire for allowing the mass gathering to happen at all in light of the Chinese coronavirus that has hit Belgium particularly hard, which has one of the highest mortality rates in the world at 84
deaths per 100,000 people.
Philippe Close defended allowing the Black Lives Matter demonstrations, saying: “Like the major European capitals like Paris, London, Madrid, Rome… Brussels, capital of 400 million Europeans, could not remain deaf to the global emotion aroused by the death of George Floyd. The 10,000 people present, almost all of whom wore masks, demonstrated that they could express themselves calmly and respect sanitary rules as much as possible,” he said.
“The balance between public order, freedom of expression, and the issue of public health is extremely delicate,” the Brussels mayor added.
A spokesman for the group that organised the Black Lives Matter protest, Muamba Bakafua,
told Dutch media that they were “disillusioned” with the violence that took place, but claimed that it came as a result of actions taken by the police.
“The police have not played their part, and should really have tackled the small groups of rioters,” Bakafua said, adding: “It started with that misunderstanding with the police.”
Bakafua complained that the police were acting as if “everyone was a vandal”.
“We have experienced police brutality again here today. This situation shows that this demonstration is still necessary. How can people trust that the police take care of them?” the organiser questioned.
Between 100 and 150 demonstrators were also arrested in Antwerp in Belgium on Sunday at another Black Lives Matter protest, after activists refused police orders to maintain social distancing during the demonstration.
Violence has been witnessed across Europe during the ongoing riots over the death of George Floyd, with protests breaking out in cities in
Britain, France, and Sweden.
Over the weekend, thousands of protesters took to the streets of London. In contrast to claims from the mainstream media that the gatherings were “largely peaceful”, the protests were marred by acts of
violence against police officers by the vicious mob.
The British capital was also witness to acts of vandalism, with radicals defacing the statues of
Sir Winston Churchill and Abraham Lincoln, the Republican president responsible for freeing the slaves in the United States.
Follow Kurt on Twitter at @KurtZindulka