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Police forced to disperse protesting Guinean nationals in Brussels

Riot police attend the protests near the Guinean embassy in Schaerbeek (© RTBF)
11:35 23/10/2020

About 100 Guinean nationals demonstrated near the Guinean embassy on Boulevard Auguste Reyers in Schaerbeek on Thursday, to protest against government violence towards voters in the West African nation, according to a spokesperson for the Brussels North police.

The police used water cannons to keep the protestors away from the embassy after calling for the crowd to disperse in line with Covid-19 regulations governing public gatherings.

The group began demonstrating at around 11.00 in front of the European Commission’s Berlaymont building on Rue de la Loi, in the European quarter in Brussels. At the time, the crowd was made up of about 70 people, according to the estimate of the Brussels-Ixelles police.

The police used tear gas to push them back away from the Berlaymont and on to the Schuman roundabout, which is considered a free expression zone for European issues. The rally ended around an hour later with protestors making their way to the location of the embassy afterwards.

Several groups of 30 to 40 people had already gathered on Wednesday afternoon in front of the Guinean Embassy which had its façade vandalised. Four arrests were made by Brussels North police.

One protester had posted a message on Twitter in which he explained that he wanted to hold the ambassador to account for those killed in his country.

The spontaneous protests in Brussels came after an announcement of the partial results of Guinea's presidential elections, which saw outgoing President Alpha Condé win. A number of people were killed in clashes between police and supporters of the main opposition UFDG party, which accuses the incumbent government of voter fraud.

Written by Nick Amies