• M. Lormeau

Liège BLM protest turns into riots: 9 injured

A total of 250 police officers from Liège police and the Belgian federal police intervened on Saturday 13 March after a protest in Liège escalated into riots. Between 200 and 300 rioters, according to police, wrecked havoc on Place Saint Lambert.

This Saturday afternoon, a Black Lives Matter demonstration was to take place in the centre of Liege between Place de la République française and the Place Saint-Lambert. The gathering was initially a demonstration following the rough arrest of a young woman of African origin on Monday 8 March. The arrest which was filmed and posted online caused a stir on social media.

The demonstration however degenerated after the march was infiltrated by trouble-makers who started damaging the areas and attacking the Liège police. The rioters vandalised a fast food restaurant on Place de la République Française, and several shop windows were smashed on Place Saint Lambert. The galleries Saint Lambert were also targeted. Facing overwhelming forces the Liège police received back-up from the Belgian federal police.

Photo: Damaged window following the protest on 13 March in Liège © SIPA PRESS

At 16:00 the Liège-Centre police station, located on rue de la Régence, was attacked, as were several police vehicles in the vicinity. The rioters seemed to move in groups at a very quick pace. Around 16:45, the police started to use water cannon to disperse the crowd, then tear gas against the rioters. Paving stones, road signs, shoes and glass bottles were thrown by the troublemakers towards the police cordon around Place Saint-Lambert.

In the early evening, calm gradually returned to Place Saint-Lambert. The first assessment of the violence that broke out on Saturday afternoon in the centre of Liège is that nine people were hospitalised, including five police officers. Ten people have been aprehended so far. Four of them are minors. Further investigations are currently ongoing.

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