In the north of Brussels, a demonstration has gone out of hand. Promisers had gone out to the streets demanding justice after the death of a man last Saturday. 23-year-old Ibrahima Barrie died after being arrested by cops and taken to a police station.
The protest, at the Brussels North Station, began quietly this afternoon. Several hundred protesters, including the victims mother, sister and aunt, called slogans and held up signs with “Black Lives Matter” and “Justice for Ibrahima”. The demonstration was allowed by the municipality.
The demonstration got out of control towards the end of the afternoon:
According to the VRT, the protest was almost over when people started throwing projectiles at the police. Fireworks were also fired. The police were present and intervened. With a water cannon, the demonstrations were dispersed and several fires were extinguished.
The police picked up over a hundred people, and there would certainly be one wounded. The Belgian Minister of Justice is furious and says that the rioters will be punished.
The Belgian police union appeals to the Minister of the Interior and the mayor of the Brussels municipality to allow the protest action.
Much is still unclear about the death of the black young man. What is clear is that on Saturday night, Brussels police officers wanted to check a group of people for compliance with the corona measures. Barrie tried to get away from that and ran away.
The police managed to catch him anyway and took him to a police station just down the road for questioning. Upon arrival at the office, he lost consciousness, says in a press release from the Belgian justice system. An ambulance took him to a hospital where he died later that night.
The familys lawyer tells the VRT that during his interrogation, Barrie became unwell and fell off his chair. He says the police didnt react until after a few minutes. According to the lawyer, this is also the reason that an investigation is now being initiated into accidental manslaughter. According to the Belgian justice system, this is a neutral term that does not mean that the police have done anything wrong.
At the police station, protesters held up a protest board with names of other people who died after contact with the police. In April, 19-year-old Adil died when cops hit him on a scooter. They were not prosecuted.
Also in the case of 17-year-old Mehdi, who died in 2019 when he was hit by a police car, the Belgian justice did not prosecute the officers.
King shows up
The Belgian king Filip ended up in the middle of the demonstration tonight by chance. His car, recognizable by the license plate “1, “suddenly appeared in the crowd. Police officers then escorted the king and his car out of the protests.