Scuffles break out after thousands in Brussels, Belgium, protest against Covid rules

Belgian police seen arresting a man and people seen throwing objects during a protest against Covid-19 restrictions

A largely peaceful protest against Covid-19 restrictions in Belgium ended in scuffles.

Protesters were seen throwing objects at police in Brussels, while officers were seen trying to clear people out and arresting a man.

Previous protests had descended into violence, but just 13 arrests were made for “rebellion and possession of prohibited articles," according to police spokesperson Ilse Van de Keere.

Thousands gathered in Brussels on Sunday for a third time to protest against the renewed Covid rules imposed by the Belgian government to tackle the spread of the Omicron variant.

People in Brussels protesting against Covid-19 measures Credit: AP/Olivier Matthys

Marchers carried placards reading “free zone”, “I've had my fair dose” and “enough is enough”.

The Belgian government is strongly advising all residents to get vaccinated and health care workers have a three-month window to get vaccinated against the virus beginning January 1 or risk losing their jobs.

In a protest in the capital last month, several hundred people started pelting police, smashing cars and setting garbage bins on fire. Police responded with tear gas and water cannons.

Sunday's protest comes a day after similar protests in Paris and London.

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Other European countries are also tightening Covid rules, with the Netherlands entering a strict four-week lockdown.

France and Germany have also banned most travellers from the UK.

The World Health Organization reported this weekend that the Omicron variant has been detected in 89 countries, and cases are doubling every 1.5 to 3 days in places with community transmission.