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Up to 5K Turned Out for Hoax Concert. It Did Not End Well

Belgian police officer hospitalized after clashes in Brussels
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 2, 2021 12:05 PM CDT

(Newser) – An April Fools' joke in Belgium did not go over well Thursday as police used tear gas and water cannons to disperse a crowd that had gathered to attend a concert, which turned out to be a hoax. An announcement posted to Facebook in March promised a slate of famous DJs would be spinning tracks at Brussels' Bois de la Cambre park on April 1, reports the BBC. An estimated 2,000 to 5,000 people turned out, despite national restrictions limiting outdoor gatherings to four people, per the BBC and Reuters. Police officers soon moved in, attempting to disperse the crowd. Some attendees threw projectiles, the Guardian reports, noting one officer was hit.

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Police said three officers were injured, including one who was taken to a hospital, per AFP. Reuters reports at least two attendees were also injured. Some complained of police brutality, saying, "We were tear-gassed for no reason at all," per AFP. An attendee tells Reuters the goal was "not to annoy the police." Rather, "we are all depressed” and "want to take advantage of our youth." Brussels Mayor Philippe Close says he understands that people wanted to get outside, but "we can't tolerate such gatherings." Four people were ultimately arrested, per AFP. Police note the event organizer, who admitted the concert was a hoax prior to Thursday, could face prosecution. (In the US, a mom's April Fools' joke also resulted in a police response.)

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