Rioters attacked the car of the King of Belgium while he was inside during protests over the death of “Ibrahima B.” in police custody.
The rioting occurred earlier this week after the death of 23-year-old Ibrahima B. in police custody after he was stopped and detained by officers on January 9th.
A demonstration took place at 3 p.m. in the afternoon on Wednesday but by 4 p.m. the situation had degenerated into violence as a mob of 100 people broke off from the demonstration and rushed into a tunnel, Sudinfo reports.
Police and rioters started to clash at the scene and a convoy passing by the area was attacked with rocks. It was later confirmed a car in the convoy belonged to Belgium’s King Philippe, and that he was inside the vehicle as it was being attacked.
Footage of the attack was posted to social media by Vlaams Belang politician Filip Dewinter, showing a man calling out to a rioter attacking the vehicle saying “that’s the king!”
— Filip Dewinter (@FDW_VB) January 13, 2021
At around 5 p.m. bins were set on fire and a police car was heavily vandalised, while the police station at Liedts Square in Schaerbeek was set on fire.
“Our teams were ready to protect the police station,” insisted police spokeswoman Audrey Dereymaeker, who added that the authorities “were able to extinguish the fire quickly.”
According to local officials, as many as 70 to 80 people were arrested at the scene of the riots and police say that two officers required hospitalisation due to injuries sustained during the rioting. Neither officer was reportedly in critical condition.
The riots come after several similar riots motived by accusations of police brutality and violence in Franc in recent months.
The French CRS, the country’s riot police, recently backed a proposal to create a new “super riot police” branch that could be deployed to anywhere in the country to help quell urban unrest in various no-go areas across the country.
Het nieuwe normaal in Brussel. pic.twitter.com/hYqfJplbEG
— VSOA POLITIE (@VSOAPOLITIE) January 14, 2021