2021-January-17 01:08
2021-January-14  11:11

Massive Unrest Rocks Brussels Amid Death of Black Man in Police Custody

TEHRAN (FNA)- Brussels saw massive civil unrest on Wednesday evening, with protests evolving from peaceful demonstrations near the police station in the Brabantstraat area, to rioters setting the station on fire.

Local media reported that a peaceful demonstration ended around 4 pm, local time, as protesters then started to throw projectiles at police officers and set fireworks, with police using water cannons to disperse them.​

"Calm has returned," said Audrey Dereymaeker, the spokesperson for the Brussels-North police, cited by AFP. He also mentioned "incidents", such as "degradation of street furniture and vehicles", as well as "jets of projectiles" against the police.

Several videos emerged on social media, revealing the police station on fire, protesters launching fireworks and a car alleged to be owned by the Belgium king stuck in the riot.

The unrest began after a young man reportedly named Ibrahima died in police custody following what was claimed to have been an attempt to escape from officers during the check. According to reports, police were checking a social gathering that was potentially breaching coronavirus-related restrictions.

The circumstances of the man's death remain unclear, and an investigation has been launched, according to AFP citing the Brussels public prosecutor's office.

The Belgian police, according to AFP, conducted several arrests after the protests came to an end. 

"I condemn the irresponsible behavior of those, who used the situation after the demonstration to provoke incidents with police and damage the city property. I thank police for interfering quickly and ensuring the safety of all citizens and entrepreneurs," head of the Saint-Josse-ten-Noode commune, Emir Kir, tweeted late Wednesday, adding that from 70 to 80 people had been detained.