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Belgium: Speeding car injures woman during anti-immigration protests in Molenbeek

News Agencies | Updated on: 14 February 2017, 6:08 IST
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  • At least seven have been detained at the anti-immigration protests.
  • Around 200 riot police stood guard in Molenbeek and there was a tense stand-off with the local youths.

Belgian police made a series of arrests of protesters in Brussels on Saturday and riot squads engaged in a tense confrontation with local youths in the district of Molenbeek, Reuters reported.

This standoff apparently grew out of plans by a far-right group to hold a demonstration in Molenbeek, a largely Muslim neighbourhood - where a number of the militants who staged attacks in Paris had been based.

An anti-racist group had called for a counter-demonstration. Both were banned by local authorities, fearful of a repeat of last Sunday's disturbance, when police fired water cannon to break up around 450 rowdy protesters, many of whom local media said were right-wing nationalists.

Reuters reporters said a car approached the police line, was hit by police batons and sped away, injuring a woman in the process. Police said a number of extreme-right protesters did arrive in Molenbeek. At least seven were detained. "There was a protest expected by the extreme right, so there a large group of (local) youths gathered and then at a point we had 300 to 400 surrounding the police station," a police spokesman said.

Around 200 riot police stood guard in Molenbeek and there was a tense stand-off with the local youths, one of whom hurled a rubbish bin towards the police.

Water cannons were in place but were not used. Two local youths were detained for public order offences. In the centre of the city, police held around 10 anti-racist activists who had assembled near the bourse, where flowers, candles and flags have been laid in memory of the 32 victims of the March 22 suicide bombings at the city's airport and metro.

Belgian television later showed some 30 far-right marchers in an outer suburb of the Belgian capital, holding a banner reading "This is our country".

-- With agency inputs

First published: 4 April 2016, 12:41 IST
 
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