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Petrol bomb at Belgian parliament was virus protest

Published on July 28, 2020

A man tried to throw a petrol bomb at the Belgian parliament in what he said was a protest against politicians’ handling of the coronavirus crisis, prosecutors said Tuesday.

The 36-year-old was arrested on Monday after the homemade incendiary was thrown near the Brussels assembly, hurting no one but causing superficial damage to the pavement.

Documents were later found in his car suggesting he may have had “extreme beliefs” but the suspect has not claimed ties to any extreme right-wing or left-wing group.

“He explained under questioning that the reason for his act was that the political world has badly handled the health crisis,” Brussels prosecutors’ spokesman Denis Goeman said.

“At this stage no terrorist motive has been alleged.”

The suspect is from Limbourg in the east of Belgium. An investigating magistrate will decide on any charges.

Belgium has suffered one of the worst per capita coronavirus infection rates in Europe, with 66,428 confirmed cases, 18,132 hospitalisations and 9,822 deaths.

Between two and three people per day are still dying, and new cases were up by around 70 percent last week compared to the previous seven-day period.

An initial social and economic lockdown was eased after the rate of new infections dropped sharply, but cases are now on the rise again and measures are again being tightened.