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200 protest in Saint-Gilles over alleged police violence
Up to 200 people, mostly women, demonstrated on Saturday evening in Saint-Gilles in front of the police station and the borough hall to protest alleged violence by police officers against three women.
Chanting "Shut up, my body, my choice" and "Skimpily dressed and hysterical", the demonstrators demanded that the community policing unit of the Brussels-Midi police zone, Uneus, be shut down.
The three women involved in the incident last week had asked the police for assistance after having been sexually harassed by a man. When they asked for help, an argument ensued and they were fined and taken to the police station.
The women claimed that the police asked them to put on their masks and to produce their ID cards, after which the situation degenerated.
Gabriel Evangelisti, police chief of the Midi zone, said the women smelled of alcohol, refused to calm down and refused to put on their masks or produce their IDs.
It is claimed that one of the women got physical with a policewoman and a ticket was issued for theft as the policewoman's phone was found in one of the women's handbags.
The police also pointed out that they had written a ticket for sexual harassment to the man involved. At the station the women claim that a police superintendent told them that they should expect sexist comments if they dress "so skimpily".
A Midi police zone spokesman said no formal request had been submitted for Saturday's demonstration, but added: "There is freedom of speech in our country. As long as public order is not disturbed, the coronavirus measures are respected and people do not incite hatred, then that is fine."
Photo: Paul-Henri Verlooy/Belga