Thousands of people descended on La Cambre woods in Brussels on Saturday for a party and protest march designed to flout COVID-19 restrictions.
The participants then marched on the European Union”s headquarters, protesting against ongoing safety measures and calling on Europeans to claim back their freedom, amid minor tussles with police.
The marchers were dispersed by early evening. The mass demonstration took place after similar anti-lockdown parties in the park in spring 2021, in which police had resorted to tear gas and water cannons to break up rowdy crowds, resulting in numerous arrests and injuries.
Belgium has been badly-hit by COVID-19, with close to 25,000 deaths recorded in a population of fewer than 12 million. Elsewhere on Saturday, about 1,000 doctors and health workers took part in an authorised protest in the capital to call for better financial support and hospital staffing.