Youths brawl with Belgian police over coronavirus curbs

Tourists sunbathe at a beach in Oostende, Belgium, on Aug 8, 2020.
Tourists sunbathe at a beach in Oostende, Belgium, on Aug 8, 2020.PHOTO: AFP

BRUSSELS (AFP) - Belgian police arrested several people on Saturday (Aug 8) after a brawl broke out on a beach between officers and youths they had told to leave for refusing to respect virus safety measures.

The clashes took place at the resort of Blankenberge.

A group of youths became violent after police told them to leave the beach, the daily Het Laatste Niewus reported.

Dozens of people were involved in the brawl and local police had to call in reinforcements.

Footage on social media showed young people throwing parasols at the officers.

The town's mayor Daphne Dumery denounced the violence, saying: "This can't go on. We are doing everything to maintain safety in our resort, and now this."

Belgium is one of the countries worst hit by the virus in terms of its death rate and was one of the first countries to require people to wear masks outdoors in crowded areas.

To date it has recorded more than 72,000 infections and 9,866 deaths.