A march reportedly partaken by tens of thousands of people against preemptive COVID-19 restrictions in Brussels grows violent as protesters clash with the police.
The Sunday rally started out peacefully, but spun out of control after, what the police described as, the protesters' attacking the security forces with "projectiles" and "vandalized street signs," AFP reported.
The police responded with water cannons and teargas canisters.
At least three security forces and one demonstrator were injured.
"Several of the demonstrators caught up in the clash wore hoods and carried Flemish nationalist flags, while others wore Nazi-era yellow stars," the agency wrote.
As many as 42 people were briefly detained, while two were arrested.
Despite the growing public anger at anti-virus measures across the continent, authorities have been warning about a pending huge rise in COVID deaths if the restrictions were to be either lifted or relaxed.
Some half a million more people could die in Europe from the virus by March in the absence of urgent action, the World Health Organization cautioned on Saturday.
The WHO’s Europe director, Dr Hans Kluge sounded the warning, calling for more public health measures to be implemented amid the situation.
“COVID-19 has become once again the number one cause of mortality in our region,” he said.
Explaining the rise in infections, Kluge considered such factors as the winter season and low vaccination rates to be responsible.