Riots in Central Brussels

HLN News — Nov 15, 2017 (Machine tranlation)

Lots of riots broke out yesterday at the Muntplein in Brussels yesterday. The police had to withdraw after they were pelted with stones and bottles. Some stores and cars were damaged. Some fifty riot police officers dispersed the crowd of young people around 4:45 PM. After that, a cat and mouse game with dozens of young people arose in the side streets of Muntplein and on the Kiekenmarkt and Grasmarkt. There were two mild injuries and 31 arrests were made. Among them also Vargasss92, the French Internet phenomenon that forms the basis of the meeting of the rioters. The situation is now under control again. The Brussels-Capital / Ixelles police zone has called on the population to identify the rioters.

Rioting in Brussels. Click to enlarge

Rioting in Brussels. Click to enlarge

According to police spokesman Olivier Slosse, the riots arose when a team from the Brussels police wanted to appeal to a rapper. “That has escalated and our people were pelted,” says the spokesman. “We then retired to prepare an intervention with more troops and will intervene immediately. It involves about a hundred people who are present at the Muntplein. “

The young people gathered en masse at Muntplein and destroyed a car, street furniture and various windows of the Muntpunt library. Also, the fence of ‘Winter fun’, the event around the Christmas period, was used to cause damage.

When the riot police came with the water cannon and several combi’s on the spot, the young people fled to the surrounding streets. After ten minutes, the police returned.

Cat and mouse game

In the meantime, the cat and mouse game moved towards the Kiekenmarkt where the police once again intervened and at the door of an exchange office put two youngsters under control on the ground.

In all the hustle and bustle a young girl got an asthma attack. The emergency services could only reach her by the crowd after half an hour.

Around 6 PM Brussels mayor Philippe Close announced on Twitter that the situation at Muntplein is under control. He speaks about an unauthorized meeting. “I immediately ordered the police to disperse the participants.” And he adds: “Arrests are in progress.”

Social media star

vargasss92The disturbances are in all likelihood the result of the appearance of social media star Vargasss92 (right), according to police sources.

The Frenchman is a particularly popular “influencer” on Snapchat and has no less than 600,000 followers on Instagram. Yesterday he had called for this afternoon at 16 o’clock to be present at the Muntplein because he said he wanted to spend an afternoon with his fans.

“Do not walk away when I am there,” he wrote. “The police would immediately evacuate me and I do not want that, I want to stay with you as long as possible.”

The young man added: “I do not want any disturbances, I do not want anyone to push because otherwise, the police will take me away. I just want to spend an afternoon with you without any problems and make fun with you. “The arrival of the social media star attracted many young people, but when the police intervened because the crowd was too big and the man himself had no license, the fans became angry and turned against the police

Prime Minister Charles Michel, in his own words, preaches zero tolerance for riots such as today in Brussels. “There should be no impunity for violent offenders against the police,” said the prime minister.

Minister of the Interior Jan Jambon (N-VA) also condemns the riots. On Twitter, the minister talks about “again inadmissible and incomprehensible violence in the center of Brussels”. He ensures that the services do everything they can to get the situation under control and that the federal police send reinforcements.

The Brussels-Capital / Ixelles police zone calls on the population to identify the rioters. “If you have images about the incidents on and around the Muntplein, then this can be transferred via the address zpz.polbru.info@police.belgium.eu”.

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