Belgium: Water cannons unleashed at UN migration pact protest in Brussels


A protest against a U.N. migration pact turned violent Sunday as some 5,500 people marched in Brussels in a rally organized by Flemish right-wing parties.

The demonstration was in response to the migration pact which was backed by more than 150 countries — including Belgium — at a United Nations conference in Marrakesh, Morocco, last week. The pact caused a rupture within the Belgian government and led to the Flemish nationalist N-VA party leaving Prime Minister Charles Michel’s coalition government.

Police detained around 90 people and used water cannons as well as tear gas as some protesters threw rocks at officers and smashed a window of a European Commission building, De Morgen reported. At one point some of the demonstrators tried to storm the Commission’s Berlaymont headquarters.

Another 1,000 counter-demonstrators also marched to show their opposition to the right-wing protest.

“Thanks to the police services for having again assured today the public order in our beautiful [city],” Mayor Philippe Close said in a tweet.

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