Thousands march through Brussels demanding end to tough Covid rules

Thousands march through Brussels demanding end to tough Covid rules as Omicron ‘tsunamicauses infections to reach record high of more than 60,000 n dag

  • Several thousand people today marched through Brussels to oppose coronavirus restrictions in Belgium
  • Comes after country saw record 60,000 cases a day in what was described as Omicron ‘tsunami
  • Prime Minister Alexander De Croo announced on Friday that a ‘Covid barometerwill be introduced
  • Barometer will be colour-coded and allow authorities to link coronavirus measures and restrictions to hospitalization numbers and ICU capacity
  • Huge crowds of demonstrators today marched through Brussels to demand an end to the country’s tough Covid rules as an Omicron ‘tsunamihas caused infections to reach more than 60,000 a day in Belgium.

    The sprawling crowd paraded through the Belgian capital, in a protest much larger than previous demonstrations.

    There have been numerous previous protests in Brussels which have seen clashes with the police and violence.

    And a protest on January 9 saw groups of demonstrators walk through the Belgian capital holding banners and chanting: 'Idk met wie hy trou/trou, vryheid!’

    Today’s protest was no different, with demonstrators clutching signs slamming Belgium Prime Minister Alexander De Croo and the Covid Safe Pass.

    The Covid Safe pass proves that citizens are vaccinated or have tested negative and is required for entry into numerous venues. Police confronted today’s crowds with tear gas and water cannon to disperse the crowds as scuffles and violence broke out at the protest.

    Op die foto: Police confront protesters at today's huge demonstration against coronavirus restrictions in Brussels, België

    Op die foto: Police confront protesters at today’s huge demonstration against coronavirus restrictions in Brussels, België

    BRUSSELS, BELGIUM: Massive crowds clutch signs slamming Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo and the Covid Safe Pass which proves that citizens are vaccinated or have tested negative and is required for entry into numerous venues

    BRUSSELS, BELGIUM: Massive crowds clutch signs slamming Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo and the Covid Safe Pass which proves that citizens are vaccinated or have tested negative and is required for entry into numerous venues

    Op die foto: A protester clad in a skeleton costume holds a sign saying 'Where is my freedom?' as thousands of demonstrators descended on Brussels today for a protest against coronavirus restrictions

    Op die foto: A protester clad in a skeleton costume holds a sign saying ‘Where is my freedom?’ as thousands of demonstrators descended on Brussels today for a protest against coronavirus restrictions

    The World Wide Demonstration for Freedom and Europeans United for Freedom, organisers of the protest, had called for people to come from other EU states.

    This meant there were flags from Poland, the Netherlands and Romania in the crowd.

    Francesca Fanara, who travelled from Lille in France, aan AFP gesê: ‘What has been happening since 2020 has allowed people to wake up to corruption.

    And Adolfo Barbosa said: ‘It’s a health dictatorship. It warms the heart to see these people here.

    BRUSSELS, BELGIUM: One protester wore an iceberg costume with 'We are the tip of the iceberg' written on it and perched the character Olaf from Frozen on the top of their outfit, as they attended today's mass anti-Covid restrictions protest today

    BRUSSELS, BELGIUM: One protester wore an iceberg costume with ‘We are the tip of the icebergwritten on it and perched the character Olaf from Frozen on the top of their outfit, as they attended today’s mass anti-Covid restrictions protest today

    The organisers of the protest The World Wide Demonstration for Freedom and Europeans United for Freedom, had called for people to come from other EU states so there were flags from the Netherlands, Poland and Romania in the crowd as it weaved through the streets of Brussels (op die foto)

    The organisers of the protest The World Wide Demonstration for Freedom and Europeans United for Freedom, had called for people to come from other EU states so there were flags from the Netherlands, Poland and Romania in the crowd as it weaved through the streets of Brussels (op die foto)

    BRUSSELS, BELGIUM: Riot police detain a protester during clashes on the sidelines of the protest against European anti-coronavirus measures today

    BRUSSELS, BELGIUM: Riot police detain a protester during clashes on the sidelines of the protest against European anti-coronavirus measures today

    Belgium has seen daily infections surge to over 60,000 in the past week but the milder variant and high rate of vaccine means the country is not under the same strain.

    Prime Minister De Croo said on Friday at a press conference: ‘[Die Omicron-variant] is true to its reputation. It’s not a wave, but a real tsunami.

    Maar hy het gesê: ‘There is good news, Omicron is making people less sick. First of all because more and more Belgians are being vaccinated or have been infected.

    BRUSSELS, BELGIUM: Police set off a water cannon against protesters during today's demonstration against COVID-19 measures

    BRUSSELS, BELGIUM: Police set off a water cannon against protesters during today’s demonstration against COVID-19 measures

    He announced at the press conference that restaurants and bars could extend their opening hours but nightclubs still remain closed.

    He also said that the country is introducing a coronavirus ‘barometerwhich will come into force next Friday to gauge the seriousness of the pandemic, Volgens Politico Europe.

    The barometer will be colour-coded and allow Belgian authorities to link coronavirus measures and restrictions to hospitalization numbers and ICU capacity.

    Police officers stand guard as protesters hold banners during the demonstration against the Belgian government's restrictions imposed to contain the spread of coronavirus in Brussels, Mathilde van België sny 'n stylvolle figuur in 'n maroen bloes en patroonbroek terwyl sy kyk hoe verpleegstudente noodbehandeling op lewensgrootte dummies oefen tydens universiteitsbesoek

    Police officers stand guard as protesters hold banners during the demonstration against the Belgian government’s restrictions imposed to contain the spread of coronavirus in Brussels, Mathilde van België sny 'n stylvolle figuur in 'n maroen bloes en patroonbroek terwyl sy kyk hoe verpleegstudente noodbehandeling op lewensgrootte dummies oefen tydens universiteitsbesoek

    Belgium will begin on Code Red which is used when the health system faces a severe threat. Code Red corresponds to 150 new daily hospital admissions and bed occupancy in ICU of more than 500.

    There is Code Orange for when the system is under pressure, in die gesig staar 65-149 hospitalisations and ICU bed occupancy of 300-500.

    Then there is Code Yellow for when hospitals face less strain which translates to fewer than 65 daily hospitalisations and bed occupancy in ICU of fewer than 300.

    Mr De Croo said that the barometer will help officials with decision-making but the Consultative Committee decides which code level the country is in and what measures or restrictions the country will face based on it.

    BRUSSELS, BELGIUM: A protester holds a banner with the words 'STOP DE CORONA DICTATUUR' written on it (Stop the Corona Dictator) at today's demonstration

    BRUSSELS, BELGIUM: A protester holds a banner with the words ‘STOP DE CORONA DICTATUURwritten on it (Stop the Corona Dictator) at today’s demonstration

    Ballonne, banners and flags were hoisted in the air by huge groups of demonstrators who took to the streets of Brussels to denounce coronavirus restrictions in Belgium today (op die foto)

    Ballonne, banners and flags were hoisted in the air by huge groups of demonstrators who took to the streets of Brussels to denounce coronavirus restrictions in Belgium today (op die foto)

    Belgian riot police stand behind a barbed wire blockade today as a demonstrator dressed as Jesus clutches a crucifix which says: 'The truth: We're being lied to!'

    Belgian riot police stand behind a barbed wire blockade today as a demonstrator dressed as Jesus clutches a crucifix which says: ‘The truth: We’re being lied to!’

    One protester holds a sign alluding to George Orwell's 1984 at the large-scale demonstration in Brussels today

    One protester holds a sign alluding to George Orwell’s 1984 at the large-scale demonstration in Brussels today

    In further developments announced in Belgium on Friday, public venues such as cultural centres can have up to 200 visitors with health passes and sport stadiums can host outdoor events. And from March 1, a booster jab is required for people to retain their valid health pass if they had their second dose more than five months ago.

    The country has reported a steady increase in COVID-19 cases and hospital admissions in January according to Belgium’s health institute.

    Daar was al meer as 30,000 daily cases between January 11 en 17 en 255 daily hospitalisations between January 14 en 20.

    And Belgium’s latest coronavirus protest comes as some governments seek to ease restrictions despite the fast-spreading Omicron variant causing a surge in infections.

    Op Vrydag, the EU’s health agency said that Omicron had become the dominant variant circulating in the bloc and neighbouring countries.

    France has said it will begin a gradual lifting of Covid restrictions from February 2 after authorities said there were ‘encouraging signsthat the wave of infections due to the Omicron variant was ebbing.