The latest on the coronavirus pandemic and the Omicron variant


The latest on the coronavirus pandemic and the Omicron variant
People attend a protest against Covid-19 restrictions in Brussels, Belgium, on Sunday, January 23. (Hatim Kaghat/Belga Mag/AFP/Getty Images)

Several thousand people attended a protest against coronavirus restrictions in multiple European nations on Sunday afternoon in Brussels, according to CNN affiliate LN24.

Belgian protestors were joined by several European movements, including World Wide Demonstration and Europeans United for Freedom, to march through the city in protest against coronavirus measures still in force across Europe, LN24 said.

Video from the scene shows police using tear gas on protestors, and a spokesperson for the Belgian police told CNN that there have been a number of clashes with police and at least six arrests. The Belgian police have called for the end of the demonstration, the spokesperson said.

Demonstrators from France, Germany, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands were also in the procession, according to CNN affiliate RTL Info. Pictures from the march show French protestors speaking out against France’s nationwide vaccine pass, which comes into force from Monday and will require anyone over the age of 16 in France to have proof of full vaccination to access a wide range of everyday activities.

Pictures from the Brussels march show large numbers walking together without wearing a mask, in opposition to current government guidance to maintain a 1.5-meter distance at demonstrations and to wear a face-covering at outdoor events with more than 100 people.

The group gathered at Brussels Gare du Nord station and walked through the city’s European quarter to Parc du Cinquantenaire, according to LN24.

Some context: The demonstration comes just days after Belgium announced a slight easing of Covid-19 restrictions, extending the closing time on restaurants and bars from 11 p.m. to midnight and allowing certain indoor venues to reopen from Jan. 28.

The government also announced that from March, booster shots will be required to maintain a Covid-19 vaccination certificate, which allows access to bars and cinemas. However, it is still possible to obtain a Covid-19 pass with a negative test or proof of a recent recovery from infection.

The latest on the coronavirus pandemic and the Omicron variant
Police confront protestors during a demonstration against Covid-19 measures in Brussels, Belgium, on Sunday, January 23. (Geert Vanden Wijngaert/AP)