Brussels, Jan 24 (IANS) About 70 people were arrested during a protest in Brussels against the Belgian government's restrictions against the Covid-19 pandemic.
Police fired water cannon and tear gas during the protest on Sunday staged by some 50,000, according to authorities.
Police officers deployed water cannons and tear gas after violent clashes erupted midway, as rioters began hurling trash cans, barriers and other projectiles, reports Xinhua news agency.
Three officers and 12 rioters were taken to hospital, local media reported.
Prime Minister Alexander De Croo said on Sunday evening following the protest that "our society will never accept blind violence".
"Difficult day today in Brussels. Nothing can justify the physical attacks of which the police have been victims. In consultation with the king's prosecutor, we will do everything to identify the perpetrators," Brussels Mayor Philippe Close tweeted.
The organisers, whose main request is said to obtain a "real public debate on the measures", had also invited protesters from other European countries.
Dutch, Polish, French and Romanian flags could also be seen in the crowd.
As the number of Covid-19 infections have continued to rise sharply in Belgium, the government has announced the introduction of a coronavirus barometer to gauge the seriousness of the pandemic.
The barometer, consisting of three colour codes, will come into effect on January 28.
Last November, roughly 35,000 protesters took part in demonstrations in Brussels that started peacefully but later turned violent.
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