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Police filter Brussels traffic to dilute trucker protests

BRUSSELS (AP) – Belgian police were filtering traffic around the Brussels capital region during yesterday’s morning rush hour in an attempt to keep a vehicle protest against coronavirus restrictions in check.

Police narrowed some highways and imposed go-slow traffic to keep control of what it feared could otherwise turn into a choking demonstration like those by horn-honking truckers in Canada. Early indications didn’t show a groundswell of support for the action but police took extensive precautions in and around European Union (EU) headquarters in central Brussels.

Many trucks were expected from France, where Paris police fired tear gas on Saturday against a handful of demonstrators on the Champs-Elysees Avenue who defied a police order by taking part in a vehicle protest.

A threatened blockade of Paris failed to materialise over the weekend, despite days of online organising efforts.

In the Netherlands, dozens of trucks and other vehicles – ranging from tractors to a car towing a camping van – arrived in The Hague for a similar virus-related protest on Saturday, blocking an entrance to the historic Dutch Parliamentary complex.

People walk by vehicles with banners and flags parked outside the city centre of Brussels. PHOTO: AP

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