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10 arrested as far right protesters clash with police at tribute site

By PA Reporters

A Brussels square that has been transformed into a unofficial memorial for those who died in last week's terror attacks saw far right protesters clash with police yesterday.

The trouble started when black-clad men started shouting slogans and carrying a banner with an expletive against the Islamic State group.

Hundreds of people were remembering the 31 victims of Tuesday's attacks when dozens of men, some in balaclavas and anonymous masks, barged to the centre of Place de la Bourse and mounted the steps of the stock exchange building.

As members of the public laid floral tributes to the victims at a makeshift memorial, police clashed with the demonstration group Casuals Against Terrorism, which was seen making Nazi salutes and confronting ethnic minority groups.

Riot squads joined plainclothes policemen to move the protesters away from the square.

But after police failed to force the group back from the vigil, water cannons were used to disperse individuals to cheers by members of the crowd that had come to pay their respects.

The anti-IS rally came despite government appeals not to hold a march since the security forces in Brussels were stretched too thinly to provide security.

Adrian Liston, who was present at the vigil, told the BBC that the memorial had been disrupted by a "bunch of skinheads" who had turned up "in force".

"They marched into the square and started a major confrontation with the peace protesters," he added.

"At this point they were really starting to get in the face of the peace protesters, the face of the police, setting off flares, setting off fireworks, and chanting stuff that was really quite ugly."

One of the protesters told news agency AFP: "We are football hooligans, we don't have anything to do with politics."

"We are here for the victims and to pay our respects."

The agency said there were around 10 arrests.

Meanwhile, Belgian officials have completed their initial investigation at Brussels International Airport after a provisional inspection of the terminal found the main building to be stable.

Five days after the two airport blasts which killed at least 14 people, a statement published on Brussels Airport's website confirmed that technicians and independent experts had judged the main and connector buildings to be "intact".

The statement also disclosed the locations where hand luggage and Custom checks are carried out can also be used again. Airport officials are now discussing plans to install temporary check-in desks, but pointed out that the process of identifying a suitable location was still being carried out in consultation with airlines and luggage handlers.

Shortly after the announcement Belgian media also reported that prosecutors in Brussels have charged a second man in connection with a foiled attack on Paris.

The man, identified only as Abderamane A, was charged with involvement in a terrorist group, according to Belgian media.

The State-owned Belga news agency said that prosecutors confirmed that the suspect had been arrested on Friday in Schaerbeek, after he was shot and wounded by armed police at a tram stop.

It was not confirmed by Belgian prosecutors.

The reported arrest would be the second to be made in connection with a plot to stage another terror attack in Paris, after nine people were arrested on Thursday for their suspected involvement in the terror attacks in Belgium.

Belfast Telegraph


From Belfast Telegraph