Following the violent arrest of a Congolese woman, between 200 and 300 thugs from Liege and its suburbs, as well as from Brussels, committed acts of looting, theft and damage on Saturday afternoon in the center of Liege. In total, 36 police officers were injured. Nine of them had to be hospitalized.
A heavy-handed arrest
The origin of these clashes goes back to the muscular arrest of a lady of Congolese origin arrested on Monday 8 March at Place Saint-Lambert in Liège, following her arrest the lady filed a complaint with the internal control of the Liège police.
The intervention of the police of Liege last Monday in the city center does not cease feeding the conversations. A lively controversy followed after the publication on social networks of the images of the arrest of the lady. She was tackled to the ground by the inspectors, while she was on the Place Saint-Lambert.
If it is difficult to understand the context of such an arrest since we only see the moment when the police officers tackle her to the ground, the arrested and handcuffed lady evokes a police violence.
Muscular arrest of a Congolese woman in Liege
An outpouring of violence” in downtown Liege
On Sunday morning, the city of Liege and the police zone drew up a first report following the riots that occurred the day before in the city center.
And this for reminder at the start of a demonstration “Black Lives Matter” organized in reaction to the muscular arrest of the young lady of Congolese origin.
Which, according to its leaders, went rather well on the Place Saint-Lambert in the presence of a few hundred people.
Scenes of riots took place at the start of the French Republic square where a motorcyclist of the Liege police was attacked by young rioters, between 200 and 300 in total.
This was followed, according to the chief of staff Christian Beaupère, “a wave of violence” that fell on the city center where the action “Still standing for Culture” was also held.
It is behind the passage of the fairground floats and the event that acts of violence visibly prepared beforehand, always according to the latter, began.
Important degradations and a support to the trade
Thus, it was notably a question of broken shop windows, acts of looting and theft as well as other degradations intervened in the public space.
According to Mayor Willy Demeyer, a striking example was the Saint-Lambert galleries, which suffered a heavy toll, particularly on their facade.
The night of Saturday to Sunday was devoted to trying to erase the traces. “The City reiterates its call for calm and assures the merchants of its support,” he said.
Both the mayor and the First Alderman have condemned these outbursts and have announced several measures such as the urgent establishment of a support plan for trade.
In addition, Willy Demeyer briefly returned to the event that would have set off the fire, highlighting “a dialogue initiated Friday evening with the sub-Saharan community.
“Its representatives did not support the demonstration of this Saturday afternoon which was neither authorized nor prohibited, so as to leave the field free for the police to intervene if necessary.
36 policemen injured and 10 young thugs arrested
Deploring “a phenomenon of thugs”, coming from Liege and its suburbs but also from Brussels, the head of the Liege police reported 36 injured police officers, including 9 hospitalized.
Believing that “the situation related to Covid-19 has not helped” and refuting any accusation of racism, he said that “the recent judicial arrest was a pretext to break”.
At this stage and while the judicial investigation is obviously in its infancy, only 10 people have been arrested, 6 judicially and 4 administratively.
Among the latter, there are only 3 individuals from Liege and 4 minors, the other young thugs arrested being between 20 and 30 years old.
The 4 minors arrested, including 1 for throwing paving stones, were placed by the public prosecutor’s office at the disposal of the youth judge and as for the 2 adults born in 1996 and 1998, their case was put under investigation.
As for the police force present on site, it was judged sufficient, from 120 at the beginning to 250 at the end, reinforcements from the federal police having also intervened.