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Protesters and police clash at Covid-19 demo in Brussels

PROTESTERS and police clashed in the Belgian capital Brussels yesterday as thousands of people took to the streets to oppose new Covid restrictions.

The demonstration took place two days after Prime Minister Alexandre De Croo announced that people would need vaccinne booster shots of after five months to maintain controversial Covid passes. 

Those without the additional jab will be unable to access bars, cinemas and other venues. 

That five-month limit is one of the tightest in Europe. In France, which has also seen large demonstrations, it is seven months. The EU-wide guide for travel within the bloc sets the limit at nine.

Protester Caroline Van Landuyt accused the government of blackmailing Belgium’s youth.

“I was very angry that my children had to do the vaccine…” she said. “They want to travel, they want to do sports competitions and they can’t do it without a vaccine, but they did not want to. It’s just blackmail.”

But Mr De Croo insisted that the new measures were justified, highlighting the high vaccination rate in the country. 

Some 89 per cent of adults in Belgium are fully vaccinated and 67 per cent have recived a booster shot.

Nearly 30,000 have died from the virus and the omicron variant is continuing to spread. 

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