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Belgian defender critical after heart attack

Lokeren defender Gregory Mertens is in a critical condition in hospital after suffering a cardiac arrest, his club doctor has said.

Mertens collapsed during a reserve game on Monday against Genk and was treated on the pitch by medical staff from both clubs before being transferred to hospital.

Gregory Mertens collapsed during a reserve game. Credit: PA

Everything points to a cardiac arrest.

I am in constant communication with the treating physicians in Genk. The state of Gregory is still critical.

– Club doctor Kris Peeters speaking to Nieuwsblad.be

His condition is very critical. Gregory is in a medically induced coma, his heart function has been taken over by a machine.

The fate of Gregory is in the hands of the hospital. We hope for a miracle."

– Lokeren spokesman Herman Van de Putte speaking to sporza.be

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Ghent hostage 'safe and well' after apartment siege

A man believed to have been held hostage by four gunmen in western Ghent is reportedly "safe and well" after armed police stormed the apartment where he was being held.

Belgium's state prosecutors confirmed the safety of the man and said three other men had been detained after the siege, Reuters reports.

Belgian police officers and special forces stand at the entrance of a building, where four gunmen were believed to have taken a man hostage, in Ghent Credit: REUTERS/Francois Lenoir

A spokeswoman for state prosecutors said: "Three men have been taken away though there were no weapons found. The earlier reports were of four men with kalashnikovs."

She added: "It's not entirely clear whether someone was in fact taken hostage."

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Officials confirm man taken hostage in Ghent

Police seal off area around the scene Credit: APTN

Belgium's state prosecution service have confirmed a man has been taken hostage in an apartment in Ghent.

A goggle map image of Ghent Credit: Google

The apartment block was sealed off earlier this morning after four armed men were seen to enter the building but police have said it is still unclear what the intention of the gunmen is.

A spokeswoman for the state prosecution service said: "For the time being we have no indication that there is a link to terrorism."

Police officers at the scene Credit: APTN

Police seal off area after armed men enter Ghent flat

An area around an apartment in Ghent, Belgium, has been sealed off by police after four armed men were seen to enter the building.

Police said it is still unclear what the intention of the gunmen was and that they had no more information available about them or whether they had taken hostages, according to Associated Press reports.

Burned out vehicles left after fiery clashes in Brussels

Burned out and defaced vehicles and rubbish-strewn streets have been left in central Brussels after violent clashes erupted as more than 100,000 protesters marched against austerity measures.

A burned out and overturned vehicle is seen after clashes between demonstrators and riot police in central Brussels. Credit: Reuters/Yves Herman
Rubbish was strewn on the ground around the written-off vehicles after fiery crashes in the Belgian capital. Credit: Reuters/Yves Herman
Protesters, including many dockers, clashed with riot police after the peaceful march of more than 100,000 turned violent. Credit: Reuters/Francois Lenoir

Fiery clashes in Brussels as 100,000 march against cuts

Vehicles have been overturned and set alight as a peaceful anti-austerity demonstration through Brussels involving more than 100,000 protesters erupted into violence.

Riot police fired water cannons to repel the demonstrators, who had taken to the streets in opposition to cuts introduced by the new Belgian government.

Vehicles were set on fire as the massive anti-austerity demonstrations, involving dockworkers, metalworkers and students, turned violent. Credit: Reuters/Francois Lenoir
Green smoke bombs were among the objects hurled at riot police during clashes in the centre of the city. Credit: Reuters/Yves Herman
Weekly strikes are planned across Belgium's regions from later in the month before a national walk-out on December 15 in opposition to the cuts worth £8.6 billion. Credit: Reuters/Yves Herman
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