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12 Apr, 2020 14:07

Belgian mayor denounces violence & vows investigation after death of lockdown-flouting teen sparks riots

Belgian mayor denounces violence & vows investigation after death of lockdown-flouting teen sparks riots

The mayor of a Brussels neighborhood has called for calm and promised a full probe after a teen died while fleeing police enforcing the city’s coronavirus lockdown. The accident sparked riots leading to dozens of arrests.

Anderlecht, a neighborhood of Brussels, descended into chaos on Saturday following the death of a 19-year-old. The teen, who was riding a scooter, reportedly collided with a police van on Friday while trying to evade officers patrolling the streets for potential violators of the Belgian capital’s coronavirus lockdown.

Youths angry at the authorities used rocks to break police station windows and set fires, Mayor Fabien Cumps told local media on Sunday morning. The riots have resulted in at least 57 arrests so far. Cumps argued that the mob “clearly didn’t come to gather in memory of young [man], they came to be violent.” The city official said in a message posted to Facebook that he visited the young victim’s family and would ensure an independent investigation into the tragic incident.

A video posted on social media shows a group of men attacking a police van. The furious crowd is seen smashing the vehicle’s windows. Belgian outlet RTL reported that a gun was stolen from inside the van.

Belgium ordered a nationwide lockdown on March 18 in response to the global coronavirus pandemic. The measures prohibit all non-essential activities. The country, which headquarters the government of the European Union, has registered nearly 30,000 cases of Covid-19, resulting in 3,600 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University.

Also on rt.com Europe’s coronavirus death toll passes 75,000 milestone – AFP tally

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