Tensions are very high in Brussels this Easter Sunday. A group protesting ISIS and Europe’s immigration problems, known as ‘The Nation’, was seen at a Brussels makeshift memorial for the fallen victims of recent terror attacks. They clashed with pro-migrant supporters, while flashing Nazi salutes.
Riot police have descended on the centre of Brussels today after hundreds of far-right protesters hijacked a peace march in the Belgian capital.
They gathered at Place de la Bourse in Brussels this afternoon and unfurled a banner denouncing ISIS before police used a water cannon on the angry crowd.
In scenes that compounded a week of grief for Belgians, protesters calling themselves ‘The Nation’ were seen making Nazi salutes as they became embroiled in a heated argument with pro-migrant groups.
The chaotic scenes unfolded at the site of a memorial for the victims of the terror attacks in Brussels on Tuesday which claimed the lives of 31 people.
Belgians were planning to gather today in solidarity and defiance in central Brussels to remember victims of the country’s worst-ever terror attacks.
In a bid to allow police to devote all their resources to tracking down the Islamic State cell linked to Tuesday’s Brussels attacks and the November carnage in Paris, officials asked organisers to postpone an Easter Sunday march.
Public broadcaster RTBF said up to 1,000 hooligans wearing black shirts had arrived in the square this afternoon. Others estimated that there were closer to 500 participants.
Scuffles soon broke out between the two groups and floral tributes left at the scene were trampled.
Eyewitnesses say some of those who were there to pay their respects have been left in tears and begging with the men, dressed in black, to leave the scene.
Police urged the mourners, who included some Muslims, not to provoke the hooligans, but some joined in chanting ‘Fascists! Fascists! We’re not having it!’
Riot police with shields corralled the hooligans before dispersing them with high power water jets, and marshalling them onto trains out of the city
According to NBC News, a group that was previously occupying the square shouted back: ‘We are all the children of immigrants’ and ‘Fascists here, we don’t want you!’
At least one of the far-right protesters was seen being taken into custody, with scores of police present backed up by their massive blue and white water cannon trucks. But there were reports this afternoon that about ten far-right hooligans had been arrested.
‘This is our home’ and ‘The state, Daesh accomplice,’ the hooligans shouted in unison, using an alternate term for the ISIS that claimed Tuesday’s suicide bombings.