Anti-COVID protests grip Europe

Protests have gripped the main park in central Brussels, as well as other major cities across Europe. COVID restrictions looked largely ignored.

Video Transcript

ADAM PARSONS: A month after an illegal party was broken up in this park in the heart of Brussels, it filled up again today. Thousands swarming to the border larcombe. There wasn't much social distancing here.

May the first is a bank holiday across Europe. It's a traditional day to either relax or demonstrate. And this was a mixture of both, a blend of partying and of various protests against the lockdown, masks, vaccines, and a few other things.

But the government was insistent that this was all banned and that it will be stopped. The police were here in numbers. And before long, they swung into action.

Water cannons came first, and then the tear gas. The crowd rapidly dispersing. Before long, this big party in the park was over.

While both sides kept their promises, the organizers of this event said it would go ahead despite calls from the government and authorities to cancel it. In response, the police kept to their word, too. They said they would break it up, and they did so using force.

The question is, was this all just about frustration over the lockdown? And if so, is this kind of disorder going to happen again? Because that sense of frustration was seen across Europe in parallel protests. These clashes in Turin in Italy.

And in Germany, too, it's recently tightened its lockdown rules. But here, protesters and police came together. And in France, a string of demonstrations, most notably in Paris.

There was no party atmosphere here, but rather a day marked with anger and violence. There's no single cause for all these events. But it is clear that across Europe, lingering lockdowns are fraying many nerves. Adam Parsons, Sky News, Brussels.