COVID-19: Belgium police use water cannons, tear gas on protesters marching against restrictions

Global News published this video item, entitled “COVID-19: Belgium police use water cannons, tear gas on protesters marching against restrictions” – below is their description.

Belgium riot police fired tear gas and used water cannons Sunday against protesters marching in Brussels against COVID-19 restrictions and the recent change to the country’s “COVID Safe” pass that is required to get into places like bars and cinemas.

Prime Minister Alexander De Croo announced this past week that starting March 1, the initial vaccine series would only be valid for five months with the “Safe” pass, requiring booster shots after five months to keep it up to date. However, the pass would be valid with a negative test or recent infection, he added.

One woman who attended the protest said the pass gives a false sense of security.

“I work with elderly people and they say ‘oh I’m gonna go to that event because it’s safe because there’s a COVID safe ticket’. And then they are sick, the next week they are sick, from COVID,” Anneleen De Klerck said.

The change to Belgium’s COVID-19 pass was announced Friday alongside a slight easing of restrictions. According to De Croo, the country’s vaccination rate sits at 89 per cent of adults fully vaccinated, with 67 per cent having taken a booster shot. Of the total population eligible, 77 per cent are fully vaccinated, with 53 per cent having had a booster dose.

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Belgium, officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a country in Western Europe. It is bordered by the Netherlands to the north, Germany to the east, Luxembourg to the southeast, France to the southwest, and the North Sea to the northwest.

It covers an area of 30,689 km2 (11,849 sq mi) and has a population of more than 11.5 million, making it the 22nd most densely populated country in the world and the 6th most densely populated country in Europe, with a density of 376 per square kilometre (970/sq mi). The capital and largest city is Brussels; other major cities are Antwerp, Ghent, Charleroi, Liège, Bruges, Namur, and Leuven.

Legally, Belgium is a sovereign state and a federal constitutional monarchy with a parliamentary system. Its institutional organization is complex and is structured on both regional and linguistic grounds. It is divided into three highly autonomous regions: the Flemish Region in the north, Wallonia in the south, and the Brussels-Capital Region.

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