In the center of Brussels, a left wing “march against fear” planned for Sunday was cancelled after the demonstration was successfully hijacked by nationalist protesters.
Much like in France after the Paris attacks, public interest in fiery far-right nationalistic populism has exploded in popularity. Vocativ reports Facebook likes for Vlaams Belang, the right-wing populist party from Flanders, has surged more than 3,000 percent.
British broadcaster BBC reported that members of the right-wing groups had approached and harassed Muslim women wearing headscarves, and at one stage cleared the steps of the square of left wing demonstrators.
Adrian Liston, who was in the square, told BBC News that there had been a “bunch of people showing solidarity with Brussels and Belgium” with a “lot of positive energy”.
But then, he said, “a bunch of skinheads turned up in force, really marching into the square, creating a major confrontation with the peace protesters”.
“They were really starting to get into the face of the peace protesters and starting to get into the face of the police. They started fireworks going, started chanting and it was really looking quite ugly,” Mr Liston said.
During a stand-off, missiles were seen being thrown in both directions between the two groups.
However he said the riot police, who appeared to have been waiting nearby, quickly moved in to separate the two groups.
Riot police used water cannons in an attempt to disperse the nationalists. No news yet of arrests or injuries, although here is an awesome vid of an antifa getting knocked out. (h/t Iron March)