Belgian rioters attacked the king’s car in violent unrest in Brussels over the death of a black man in police custody who was arrested for violating the 10 p.m. curfew for the coronavirus.
Police said more than 500 protesters, some with Black Lives Matter signs, had gathered in the Belgian capital on Wednesday after the death of the 23-year-old man detained by police in the city on Saturday.
He was only publicly identified with the initials IB, and some Belgian media reported that his name was Ibrahima Barrie.
Minister of Justice Vincent Van Quickenborne said on Twitter the police have ‘arrested more than 100 people’, while a police spokeswoman confirmed to the AFP news agency that ‘several’ arrests had been made.
Photographs of the site of the riots at Gare du Nord station showed King Phillipe’s car being hit by rocks and other projectiles as it traversed the area.
A police station was also set on fire by rioters who threw Molotov cocktails, with a video showing the building going up in flames. Other photos showed that fires had been lit in the city streets.
Belgian police said more than 500 protesters gathered in Brussels on Wednesday after the death of a 23-year-old black man who was in police custody on Saturday.
Belgian King Phillipe’s car (pictured, identified by its number plate ‘1’) was attacked by protesters while driving through the area
Photographs of the site of the riot showed that King Phillipe’s car was hit by rocks and other projectiles while driving through the area.
The 23-year-old man who died in custody was publicly identified only with the initials IB, and some Belgian media reported that his name was Ibrahima Barrie (photo)
A police station was set on fire (see photo) with other photos showing fires lit in the city streets
Recognizable by number plate ‘1’, local news channel HLN reported that the king’s car “suddenly appeared nearby” before the king’s security service took action.
The EPA news agency said the king was traveling from his workplace in Brussels to the Palace of Laeken, his official residence.
King Phillipe (photo) was traveling from his workshop in Brussels to the Palace of Laeken, his official residence, when the car became involved in the riots
Protesters demanded that authorities shed light on the circumstances surrounding the man’s death on Saturday night.
The Brussels public prosecutor’s office announced on Wednesday that it is requesting the appointment of an investigating judge after the death of the man.
Barrie was arrested after allegedly trying to run away from police officers who were checking a group of people in central Brussels, despite COVID-19 measures restricting social gatherings, the prosecution said.
He was taken to a police station where he passed out and then taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 8:22 p.m. local time, the office said.
At a meeting outside the police station on Wednesday, Barrie’s family lawyer claimed that an initial autopsy showed the man died of a heart attack.
Attorney Alexis Deswaef also accused police of acting too slow when Barrie collapsed while in custody.
“It took between five and seven minutes for anyone to act,” he said. “They should have helped him because as long as Ibrahima was deprived of his freedom, the police were responsible for him.”
The toxicologist’s initial findings also said that there was nothing to indicate that he had used drugs before his death. HLN reported, but added that he was found with three ecstasy pills on his possession. Official findings have yet to be released.
Protesters demanded that authorities shed light on the circumstances surrounding the man’s death on Saturday night. Pictured: Hundreds of protesters gather around ‘Gare du Nord’ during a rally, some holding signs saying ‘Justice for Ibrahima’ (photo)
Ibrahima B’s mother (R) takes part in a demonstration on January 13, 2021 outside the police station in Brussels where her son was detained when he collapsed.
Police officers are trying to extinguish a fire in a dumpster in the Belgian capital Brussels on Wednesday, amid violent clashes in which more than 100 people have been arrested, officials said.
A protester throws stones at police officers in Brussels on Wednesday, while protesters clash with police after the death of a 23-year-old black man who is in police custody on Saturday.
Justice Minister Vincent Van Quickenborne said on Twitter that police “ have arrested more than 100 people in the midst of the clashes on Wednesday, with 500 protesters reportedly demonstrating
Health workers provide first aid after the clash between police and protesters
The prosecution said that the Belgian Committee P, an independent body that oversees police forces, is investigating and that a coroner has been appointed to perform both autopsy and toxicological tests.
Belgian media reported that Barrie had started recording the police with his smartphone on Saturday when officers decided to carry out an identity check on him.
The prosecution said it has confiscated video surveillance images from both the police station and the site of the man’s arrest.
His family and lawyer had a meeting with the chief prosecutor on Wednesday morning. The prosecution said they received assurances that “all resources are and will be used to shed light on what has happened.”
A line of police officers stand guard as protesters gather around ‘Gare du Nord’ during a rally following the death of 23-year-old Ibrahima Barrie at the police station
A woman with a face mask holds a sign that reads ‘Stop police brutality now’ after 23-year-old Ibrahima Barrie’s death at police station
Police officers pull through a Brussels street as a water cannon is used to restrain protesters after 23-year-old Ibrahima Barrie’s death
Home Secretary Annelies Verlinden condemned the man’s death and subsequent unrest as “totally unacceptable” and assured the public about the investigation.
“We will monitor this and, if necessary, take the necessary steps to also condemn police misconduct,” said Verlinden. quoted by the Brussels Times.
“But today there is no reason to do that, and therefore there is certainly no reason for this kind of violence.”
In regions of Belgium that speak French, a curfew applies from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m., while in the Dutch-speaking region of Belgium the hours are from midnight to 5 a.m.