Brussels: Riots after nightly arrest

Brussels: Riots after nightly arrest

Nine police agents were injured in riots Thursday evening in the Brussels suburb of Molenbeek. One agent was seriously injured. The violence began during the arrest of a 14 year old who had badgered and taunted the police over the previous days. Two minors were meanwhile arrested.

The two minors threw various projectiles at the police yesterday evening and resisted their arrest. They are now being brought to the magistrate. The prosecution wants to arrest them. The minor for whom the riots began needs to show up by a youth court.

For several days the 14 year old had badgered and taunted the police. At about 7pm Thursday evening agents went to his house at the Vanderstichelenstraat to pick him up. This lead to loud protests by the boy's family.

About twenty people gathered around the agents, throwing stones at the police. The police had to use pepper-spray to keep the spectators at bay and took the boy with them to the station at Briefdragerstraat.

The family soon arrived, accompanied by about sixty people, to protest at the police station. They became wild and a number of youth threw stones at the station, smashing the windows of police cars and the station itself.

Johan Berckmans of the police explains that this was a person who harassed the police during police surveillance as part of Ramadan. Police agents were called names and even threatened. On Wednesday the agents couldn't proceed to the arrest of this person, it took place on Thursday with all the consequences that followed.

The police called in for reinforcements from the Brussels Capital/Elsene zone. After the rioters were dispersed, the riots moved to the area around the Ribeaucourtstraat and the Leopold II-laan.

Two water cannon, a police helicopter and 100 agents were needed in order to calm down the situation. Nine agents were injured during the incident, one seriously.

The police union is asking for urgent measures from the government. Philip Van Hamme of the NSPV says that more personnel should be immediately added to the permanent and preventive services. More should be invested in those services, and certainly in the preventive patrols which should be thoroughly expanded.

Source: BrusselsNieuws (Dutch)

See also: Brussels: nights of unrest

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