Brussels Ablaze with Anti-Austerity Demonstrations

Demonstrators and Rubble outside of Bruxelles-Midi train station
Written by Charles Low

Today, 6th of November, 2014, thousands demonstrated in Brussels against austerity measures, marching from the north to the south of the city, where chaotic scenes emerged. The Brussels police force was reported as using tear gas as well as water cannons on the demonstrators.

The demonstrations were organised by unions and began midday from Brussel-Noord train station, and contined to the South of the city, finishing outside Bruxelles-Midi train station. It seems like the demonstration started out pretty peacefully in a sea of colour as the tweet below shows:

Then, around about 14:00 this tweet was posted which showed the beginnings of an ugly side of the protests.

At around 15:00, I decided I would brave the potentially violent clashes to find out what was going on. I was quite alarmed by the continued presence of a helicopter above my head (and possibly chem trails, for those of you into that thing…)

Soon enough, I saw with my own eyes, and the following tweets and vines tell my story:

On the opposite side of the boulevard du midi to where I took the first video, I saw a specially-fitted police truck use its water-cannon:

There were a lot of fires on the boulevard and I could not quite make out whether or not the water cannons were being used more to quell the protestors or the fires.

The atmosphere was particularly threatening. Amidst the disorder I saw dozens of demonstrators with watery eyes and dusty looking faces. In many of the side streets I saw paramedics attending to both demonstrators and police.

Reportedly there were no casualties, however, it would appear that 14 people have been hospitalised.

Today could just be a flare-up of tensions. But it could be a harbinger for the next month, the length of time Unions have vowed to protest the Belgian government’s reforms.

In Brussels today, you really get the impression that austerity-measures are going to cause more unrest in Belgium.