40 arrested in Brussels riot

Associated Press

BRUSSELS, Belgium — Forty German activists were arrested Friday outside a European Union summit after allegedly smashing a police station, attacking riot police and lighting fires in the streets.

Brussels Mayor Freddy Thielemans said the "hard-core" protesters, who were dressed in black and wearing balaclavas, were seen smashing four different banks and a police station and damaging several vehicles.

He also said they used slingshots to fire wooden and steel projectiles at riot police, injuring two.

"We only apprehended those carrying sticks, stones and steel pellets," Thielemans said.

Police also used water cannons against protesters after several, believed to be among the 40 arrested, started fires on the street, Brussels city police commissioner Christian De Coninck said.

The 40 were to be jailed overnight while authorities decided whether to press charges, De Coninck said.

Another 60 German protesters were taken from a Cologne-to-Brussels high speed train in the eastern city of Liege because they had no tickets. They later were released.

About 12,000 activists from non-governmental organizations and various environmental and trade groups marched through Brussels Friday.

The demonstration was kept away from the royal palace in the suburb of Laeken, the summit venue.

On Thursday, 80,000 trade unionists marched through the Belgian capital.

The Belgian air force also was on alert for any possible terrorist attacks.

Associated Press

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