Belgian police used water cannons and deployed tear gas in central Brussels to drive back protesters inspired by France’s “yellow vest” anti-tax movement as demonstrators forced the European Commission headquarters into a temporary lockdown.

Hundreds of activists made Belgium’s political landmarks their target, marching between landmarks amid clouds of smoke from firecrackers and smoke bombs, as they were stalked by dozens of baton-wielding riot officers ready to pounce. Protesters descended on the European Commission’s Berlaymont headquarters, the heart of EU decision-making, as they created Belgium’s own ‘yellow jacket’ campaign against rising fuel prices and the cost of living. The EU Commission was forced to temporarily shut its doors as the building’s security guards refused to let anyone in or out while protesters marched passed.

A lone ‘yellow jacket’ remained stationed outside the bolted doors, insisting the Berlaymont was now “closed for the day.”

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