Home News Belgian police scramble to block anti-vaccine convoy

Belgian police scramble to block anti-vaccine convoy

Published on 14/02/2022

Belgian authorities said Monday they had intercepted 30 vehicles as police scrambled to stop a Canada-style protest convoy against Covid regulations from reaching Brussels.

elgian authorities said Monday they had intercepted 30 vehicles as police scrambled to stop a Canada-style protest convoy against Covid regulations from reaching Brussels.

Demonstrators in the self-proclaimed “freedom convoy” were seeking to head north to the seat of the European Union in defiance of a Belgian ban after a weekend trying to block traffic in France.
russels mayor Philippe Close told local RTBF radio that a total of 400-500 cars and vans had been spotted en route for the Belgian capital.

“About 30 have been blocked and the others have vanished into thin air,” Close said.

He said several dozen vehicles were in a car park on the edge of Brussels, where police had decided to direct the protesters and they could negotiate heading to the city centre “on foot”.

“It is a matter of not allowing Belgian capital to be taken hostage,” he warned.

In an effort to stop protesters circumventing checks, police also closed part of a major motorway heading to the city from the east.

The self-proclaimed “freedom convoy” is one of several worldwide inspired by a truckers’ standoff with authorities in Canada.

More than 100 vehicles on Saturday managed to converge on the Champs-Elysees in Paris despite a heavy police deployment to keep them out of the city

Security forces used teargas to disperse protesters and detained dozens in scenes reminiscent of the “yellow vest” clashes of 2018 and 2019.

The demonstrators took aim in particular at France’s “vaccine pass” required to enter restaurants, cafes and many other public venues implemented as part of President Emmanuel Macron’s inoculation drive.

French police on Sunday said they had counted some 1,300 vehicles in the northern city of Lile that appeared to have stopped on their way to Belgium.

In the face of the Belgian ban, some participants had mooted a change of plans to head to the city of Strasbourg in eastern France where the European Parliament is headquartered.