Thousands of young people were celebrating the end of nightly curfews in Brussels on Saturday night – until police showed up in the early hours of Sunday to clear out two squares.
Belgian media reported that a flashmob had been called for on social media at the popular Flagey square in the Ixelles quarter. People turned out in droves to Flagey and the nearby Sainte-Croix square.
They crowded close together, and many of them weren’t wearing masks.
Police initially observed the celebrations for several hours, spokesman Olivier Slosse told the Belga news agency.
Around 1:30 am (2330 GMT Saturday), officers then began to break up the party; about 500 people were still hanging around at the time. Police brought out water cannon in the process, and some items were thrown at officers.
Brussels had been under a nightly curfew from 10 pm to 6 am for more than six months. The current rules allow for only up to three people to meet in public after 10 pm, and there’s a nightly ban on alcohol.