Hundreds of activists made Belgium’s political landmarks their target, marching between landmarks amid clouds of smoke from firecrackers and smoke bombs, as they were stalked by dozens of baton-wielding riot officers ready to pounce. Protesters descended on the European Commission’s Berlaymont headquarters, the heart of EU decision-making, as they created Belgium’s own ‘yellow jacket’ campaign against rising fuel prices and the cost of living. The EU Commission was forced to temporarily shut its doors as the building’s security guards refused to let anyone in or out while protesters marched passed.

A lone ‘yellow jacket’ remained stationed outside the bolted doors, insisting the Berlaymont was now “closed for the day”.

Another protester, who wanted to remain anonymous amid scenes of violence, told Express.co.uk: “We are protesting against the raising cost of petrol, living and high tax.

“It’s the same as France and Paris and maybe later on in Holland and maybe in England.”

At least two police vans were destroyed in what started as a peaceful but unauthorised demonstration descended into violence.

Police made dozens of arrests after protestors with their faces covered by masks or hoods tried to storm through police lines.

Brussels riots: Tear gas was fired at protestors after violence erupted

Brussels riots: Tear gas was fired at protestors after violence erupted (Image: REUTERS•EPA)

Vehicles destroyed in Brussles

At least two police vans were destroyed in the protests (Image: JOE BARNES)

Belgium’s ‘yellow jacket’ movement are hoping to inspire similar scenes across Europe, with London a particular hotspot for potential violence.

They use social media to spread their message, and claim to have already had their Facebook event page shut down for the Brussels march.

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Riot police came under attack by a small breakaway faction as they dispersed peaceful ‘yellow jackets’ away from the EU Commission’s headquarters.

A dozen youths, dressed in black hoodies without the high visibility jackets, launched rocks at the police who proceeded to give chase down a side street.

Brussels riots

Dozens of protestors were arrested (Image: REUTERS)

Brussels riots Nov 30

Police used water cannons to disperse demonstrators (Image: GETTY IMAGES)

Shop owners ran to their doors amid fears they could become innocent victims of clashes between police and the mob.

Peaceful protesters continued on their march away from the Commission with their hands held aloft above their heads as they passed awaiting riot police.

Several hundred people eventually converged on the office of Prime Minister Charles Michel.

Crowds demanded the resignation of the PM as they chanted “Michel, resign!”

Mr Michel is a liberal ally of Macron, who voiced sympathy for people’s troubles on Thursday. But he added: “Money doesn’t fall from the sky.”

His centre-right coalition faces an election in May.

Brussels riots

The European Commission building was forced to temporarily shut its doors (Image: JOE BARNES)

Brussels riots

Police said around 500 protestors took part in the demonstrations (Image: JOE BARNES)

A tweet from the Belgian leader said: “No impunity for unacceptable violence in Brussels. Those who came to smash and loot must be punished.”

Protests in Belgium, notably around fuel depots in the French-speaking south, have been inspired by the yellow vest – or “gilet jaune” – actions in France.

The yellow vests staged demonstrations on the Champs-Élysées last week in protest at increases in fuel duty imposed by President Emmanuel Macron’s government as part of efforts to reduce emissions causing global warming.

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Additional reporting by Harvey Gavin.

Source
Daily Express :: World Feed
World News

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