Brussels riot police use water cannon to break up protest

Brussels riot police use water cannon to break up protest
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By Sarah Chappell
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with Brussels reporting by James Franey Riot police in Brussels on Sunday deployed water cannon to break up an apparent far-right demonstration in

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with Brussels reporting by James Franey

Riot police in Brussels on Sunday deployed water cannon to break up an apparent far-right demonstration in Place de la Bourse.

A group of around 400 demonstrators arrived at the square a little after 2 p.m. local time.

Many of the protesters appeared to be right-wing nationalists, chanting anti-immigration chants and slogans such as “Together against Islamic State (ISIL).”

The marchers heading towards Place de La Bourse. Heavy police presence. pic.twitter.com/dA1Kyp3WV7

— James Franey (@jamesfraney) March 27, 2016

Some of the demonstrators, many of whom were clad in black and wearing balaclavas, performed Nazi salutes.

A large banner read “Casuals against terrorism,” referring to ‘casual’ culture, which is linked to football hooliganism. Some of the protesters told euronews that they identified with various Belgian football clubs.

LIVE on #Periscope: Football casuals on Place de la Bourse Brussels https://t.co/TgbvZOY0sy

— James Franey (@jamesfraney) March 27, 2016

Dozens of Belgian riot police encircled the protesters, isolating them from the other people gathered in Place de la Bourse.

Water cannon were deployed at around 3.30 p.m. local time and the demonstrators retreated from the square.

Hundreds of people had already been gathered in Place de la Bourse, which has been a focal point for tributes to those who died in bomb attacks on Tuesday (22 March) at the city’s main airport and a metro station, before the demonstrators arrived.

A peace march had earlier been planned for Sunday at 2 p.m., but was postponed by the Belgian authorities.

with Brussels reporting by James Franey

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