Protest action by several hundred people in Brussels following the sudden death of a 23-year-old detainee turned into riots on Wednesday evening. Protesters called the police for assassins, threw bullets at officers and set fire to a nearby police station, among other things. One was injured and the police made several arrests.
Ibrahima Barrie, 23, was arrested by police around 7 p.m. Saturday night after a chase. He had fled a control at the Brussels-North station.
Officers took him to the police station for questioning, but upon arrival he passed out. Barrie was rushed to hospital by ambulance, where he died around 8:30 p.m. It is not yet clear whether there is a link between the arrest and his death.
A special team is investigating whether police crossed the line in Barrie’s arrest. Police relations with her family, who were reportedly only made aware of it within hours of Barrie’s death and who were left with more questions than answers, are also being examined.
The police have for some time had difficult relations with the inhabitants, among others, of the district around the Brussels-North station. In recent times, prosecutions or arrests by police have been fatal on several occasions, invariably leading to riots.