Police used rubber bullets against rioters as the rioters hurled bottles and Molotov cocktails in the northeastern Swiss city of St. Gallen on Saturday. More than 30 people were temporarily banned from entering the city.

The riot broke out after around 1,000 young people gathered at the Roter Platz square in the city center. The agitated crowd attacked police and ambulance crews, hurling bottles, firecrackers, and pavement stones. The officers responded by launching volleys of tear gas and firing rubber bullets.

Police said the rioters smashed a bus stop, started fires, and threw a Molotov cocktail at the officers. St. Gallen Police Chief Ralph Hurni told reporters that two people were injured and 21 were detained. He added that 33 people who came from other cities were temporarily banned from returning to St. Gallen.

A spokesperson for the city police, Roman Kohler, told the newspaper St. Galler Tagblatt that there were calls on social media to start another riot on Sunday evening.

Officials and the media linked Saturday’s riot and a similar public disturbance last week to the growing frustration with Covid-19 restrictions. St. Galler Tagblatt quoted a 17-year-old present at the riot as saying, “We will no longer allow ourselves to be locked up.”

The city’s top security official, Sonja Luthi, condemned the violence “in the strongest possible way,” adding that police acted appropriately. St. Gallen Mayor Maria Pappa said that attacks on police officers were “completely wrong,” and that the zero-tolerance policy against rioting will continue.

Belgian police deploy cavalry and water cannon to disperse anti-lockdown party at Brussels park

An earlier report said:

Mounted officers and water cannon was deployed against an anti-lockdown party in the middle of a park in Brussels, Belgium on Friday

Officers, both on foot and on horseback, pushed people out of the Bois de la Cambre park in the country’s capital. Some were filmed hiding behind the trees as they were blasted with water cannon.

Brussels police spokesperson Ilse van de Keere told reporters that 10 people were arrested for public disturbance on Friday and one was arrested for attacking a police horse. There were no injuries. The window of a squad car was smashed.

On Thursday, police broke up a much larger gathering at the park, where up to 2,000 people showed up for a festival-type event which was initially announced as an April Fools’ joke. Glass bottles were thrown at police during the ensuing clashes, which left 26 officers and eight civilians injured.

Interior Minister Annelies Verlinden described the illegal event as “slap in the face” for anyone respecting Covid-19 restrictions. At the same time, she said that an investigation was opened into reports that police may have used excessive force on Thursday.


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