By AP and published by MSN News
Brussels – Police fired water cannons and tear gas in Brussels today (Jan. 23) to disperse protesters marching against Covid-19 vaccinations and restrictions.
The march followed demonstrations in other European capitals on Saturday that also drew thousands of people protesting vaccine passports and other requirements that European governments have imposed in hopes of ending the coronavirus pandemic.
In Brussels, demonstrators chanted “Liberty!” as they marched.
White-helmeted police riot officers later sought to disperse protesters, who ignored instructions broadcast over loudspeakers that the demonstration was finished and that they should leave.
Police water cannon trucks fired powerful jets at protesters, while thick clouds of smoke and snaking trails of gas filled the air in the Belgian capital.
On Saturday demonstrations took place in Athens, Greece; Helsinki; London; Paris; and Stockholm.
Marches in Paris drew hundreds of demonstrators protesting last Monday’s introduction of a new Covid-19 pass. It will severely restrict the lives of those who refuse to get vaccinated by banning them from domestic flights, sports events, bars, cinemas and other leisure venues. French media reported that demonstrators also marched by the hundreds in other cities.
In Sweden, where vaccine certificates are required to attend indoor events with more than 50 people, some 3,000 demonstrators marched though central Stockholm and assembled in a main square for a protest organised by the Frihetsrorelsen — or Freedom Movement.
Swedish media reported that representatives from the neo-Nazi Nordic Resistance Movement attended the action with a banner. Police closely monitor the group, which has been associated with violent behaviour at demonstrations.
A similar demonstration with some 1,000 participants was held also in Goteborg, Sweden’s second-largest city.
The Finnish government authorised local and regional authorities just before Christmas to introduce “extensive and full measures” in response to rising virus cases involving the omicron variant.
The restrictions included limiting or prohibiting events, moving university classes online, limiting restaurant service and closing venues where people have a higher risk of exposure. Restaurants and events are allowed to require vaccine passports.
Police said some 4,000 people marched Saturday through the streets of central Helsinki to protest. A group called World Wide Demonstration organised the demonstration. No unrest or violence was reported to police.
Top: Protesters clap as they gather with signs and banners during a demonstration against Covid-19 measures in Brussels, today, Jan. 23, 2022. Banner at centre reads ‘No to obligatory vaccines’. Photo: AP Photo/Olivier Matthys and published by MSN News
First and fouth below: Police set off a water cannon against protesters during a demonstration against Covid-19 measures in Brussels, today, Jan. 23, 2022. Photo: AP Photo/Geert Vanden Wijngaertand published by MSN News
Second below: A protester marches with a cross past EU headquarters during a demonstration against Covid-19 measures in Brussels, today, Jan. 23, 2022. Photo: AP /Geert Vanden Wijngaert and published by MSN News
Third below: A protester wears a costume as he marches during a demonstration against Covid-19 measures in Brussels, today, Jan. 23, 2022. Photo: AP Photo/Geert Vanden Wijngaert and published by MSN News
Home Page: A protester wears a QR code on his forehead during a demonstration against Covid-19 measures in Brussels, today, Jan. 23, 2022. Photo: AP Photo/Geert Vanden Wijngaertand published by MSN News