Anti-migration protest turns violent in Brussels

Police have fired tear gas and water cannons at anti-migration protests at the European Commission in Brussels.

Flemish nationalists were prominent among the thousands of people who marched in the European capital, in protest at a UN migration pact that was signed earlier this month.

They were met with tear gas and water cannons, as riot police closed off wide streets in the city centre and confronted some protesters who had broken off from initial gathering.

People wave the flag of the Flanders as they take part in a gathering called by the right-wing Flemish party Vlaams Belang and other organisations, in Brussels, on December 16, 2018 to protest against the UN Marrakech global pact on migration signed last week by Belgian Prime Minister. - Brussels mayor forbade the venue of this march but State council ruled against that decision and the mach is wel authorized. A counter march is also organised for a solidary Belgium.
People wave the flag of the Flanders in the protest

Demonstrators object to the UN compact on migration, a non-binding agreement among the majority of member states to cooperate in ensuring safe and orderly migration and upholding the rights of migrants around the world.

The compact, which was signed in Marrakesh last week, has been criticised by conservative and far-right voices who say it threatens national sovereignty.

Protesters improvised weapons
Protesters improvised weapons

In Belgium, Prime Minister Charles Michel was left leading a minority government after the Flemish nationalist party N-VA quit in protest at the signing of the deal.

Flags of a another Flemish group, Vlaams Belang, were on show at Sunday’s march, where protesters called for Mr Michel to resign and accused politicians of ignoring the “will of the people”.

Police, who later said protesters became violent when they were asked to disperse, were filmed hitting people with batons.

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