Corona: Europe’s conspiracy believers demonstrate in Brussels – politics

It should have been a “team of a million people” in Brussels. Seen in this way, the large-scale demonstration against the Corona requirements on Sunday, which was characterized by scenes of violence and had at least 50,000 participants, was a complete failure.

However, the slogan of the organizers was also intended as a spoof of the Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo. At the beginning of the pandemic, he called for “a team of eleven million” – all Belgians – to fight the virus together. That has remained a pious wish. As in many other European countries, the Corona policy has driven a rift through society.

Thousands of people had demonstrated against the government in Brussels several Sundays earlier. The debate about compulsory vaccination, which was also taking place in Belgium, gave the scene another boost, and this time supporters were mobilized all over Europe. Flags from Germany, the Netherlands, France, Romania, Poland and even from the USA could be seen at the march, which also led through the Europaviertel.

A group called “European United” appeared as the official organizer, which has apparently existed since March 2021. Tom Meert, a computer scientist from the Flemish city of Leuven, identified himself as its “president”. Opposite the newspaper The evening he said that until the pandemic he was a completely non-political person. Now he claims to be able to initiate a public debate with his group and to defend free democracy against a policy that resorts to “totalitarian tools”. The organization “World Wide Demonstration” as well as several hundred local groups of like-minded people all over Europe stand with them, he said.

The calls for the demonstration were mainly distributed via the messenger service Telegram. A “guest list” was also advertised, on which protagonists from the scene of European conspiracy believers could be found. According to Belgian media reports, most of the foreign speakers who were supposed to speak in Brussels were linked to the organization “Children’s Health Defense Europe”, an action group led by radical anti-vaccination opponent Robert F. Kennedy Jr., who ranked the corona policy in a row with Nazi crimes.

Violent extremists from the far right and far left, many of them from abroad, used the demonstration to attack the police. As announced, at least 230 people were arrested. Three police officers and twelve demonstrators were taken to the hospital. The police, partly overwhelmed by the violence, used tear gas and water cannons. Windows on the building of the European External Action Service were broken. Belgium’s Prime Minister Alexander De Croo condemned the riots. “Everyone is free to express their opinion,” he said. “But our society will never tolerate blind violence.”

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