Video: Anti-ISIS Protesters Take Over Peaceful Memorial for Victims of Brussels Attacks
A march was initially planned, but was canceled after security concerns.
Belgium’s Interior Minister Jan Jambon pleaded people not to rally on March 27 for security reasons.
“We understand fully the emotions,” he said.
“We understand that everyone wants to express these feelings,” Jambon added.
However, people still gathered at the Place de la Bourse to commemorate the victims.
According to CNN, during the afternoon, hundreds of demonstrators dressed in black and some wearing masks, chanted anti-immigrant and anti-ISIS slogans. They held banners with expletive language against the Islamic State, and were seen drinking alcoholic beverages.
According to CNN some of the protesters raised their arms and did Nazi salutes.
They yelled “We are at home,” while mourners at the site chanted back saying, “No to hatred” and “We are all the sons of immigrants.”
Tensions rose into minor brawls when some people were seen trampling on flowers, flags and objects that were laid at the memorial for the victims.
Authorities stepped in to calm the wild nationalist protesters by briefly using a water cannon.
The peaceful mourners cheered as right-wing protesters were pushed away from the memorial site. It took about an hour for police officers to clear the demonstrators.
— Thomas Daigle (@thomasdaigle) March 27, 2016
“It is highly inappropriate that protesters have disrupted the peaceful reflection at the Bourse (stock exchange). I strongly condemn these disturbances,” Prime Minister Charles Michel said according to Belga news agency.
The mayor of Brussels, Yvan Mayeur, also expressed his discontent about the rowdy protesters and called them “scoundrels.”
The protests follow the terrorist attack in Belgium that killed 35 and injured hundreds on March 22. Bombs were detonated in the Brussels airport and metro system. ISIS took responsibility for the blasts shortly afterwards.