5,500 demonstrators gathered outside the EU headquarters in Brussels, some holding banners bearing slogans including ‘Our people first’
Belgian riot police used tear gas and water cannon yesterday to disperse thousands of people protesting in Brussels against the UN migration pact.
Some 5,500 demonstrators gathered outside the EU headquarters in Brussels, some holding banners bearing slogans including “Our people first” and “We’ve had enough, close the borders”.
The protest was organised by Flemish Right-wing parties and had initially been banned, but that was overturned by Belgium’s high court.
When asked to disperse, some began throwing paving stones, traffic signs and firecrackers at security forces near the European Commission building, provoking the police response.
A Left-wing counter-demonstration in favour of the non-binding UN migration pact of around 1,000 people took place peacefully nearby.
The Right-wing New Flemish Alliance was angered after Charles Michel, the prime minister, refused its demand that he not sign the UN migration compact in Marrakesh.
The pact aims at creating a global approach to migration and was agreed in July by all 193 UN members except the US, but only 164 formally signed it last Monday in Morocco.
With a record 21.3 million refugees globally, the UN began work on the pact after more than one million people arrived in Europe in 2015, many fleeing civil war in Syria and poverty in Africa.
Pope Francis voiced his support yesterday (Sunday) for the agreement, which is expected to be ratified at UN headquarters in New York on Wednesday.