Right wing protesters, Belgian police clash at memorial site

Belgian police fire water cannons to disperse right wing protesters who disrupted memorial for those killed in recent Brussels attacks

Photo by: AFP
Photo by: AFP

Riot police surround the memorial site which mourners gathered to pay tribute to the victims of the Brussels terror attacks, as far-right football hooligans disturb the peaceful rally on Place de la Bourse square in Brussels on March 27, 2016.

Belgian riot police fired water cannon on Sunday to disperse far-right football hooligans who disrupted mourners at a shrine for victims of the Brussels attacks, as police arrested several suspects in a series of new raids.

In scenes that compounded a week of grief for Belgians, black-clad protesters shouting anti-immigrant slogans moved in on the makeshift memorial at Place de la Bourse where hundreds of people had gathered in a show of solidarity.

Floral tributes and candles are left outside the Stock Exchange in Brussels, in tribute to the victims of a triple bomb attack by DAESH terrorists on March 22, 2016. [AFP]

Under-fire Belgian authorities meanwhile detained four terror suspects after carrying out 13 raids as they seek to round up a web of militants with links to the carnage in the Belgian capital and to attacks and plots across the border in France.

The clashes between the far-right demonstrators and police underscored the tensions in Belgium after DAESH carried out suicide attacks on the airport and the metro system on Tuesday  in which 28 people died and 340 were wounded.

"This is our home" and "The state, DAESH accomplice" around 200 hooligans chanted,as they gathered near the square by the stock exchange building, which has been covered in flowers, candles and messages by mourners.

A man gestures as masked and hooded men arrive outside the stock exchange in Brussels on March 27, 2016 as tensions mounted after the square was invaded by some 200 far-right football hooligans. [AFP]

Police urged the mourners, who included some Muslims, not to provoke the hooligans, but some joined in chanting "Fascists! Fascists! We're not having it!"

Riot police with helmets and shields corralled the hooligans before dispersing them with high power water jets, and marshalling them onto trains out of the city.

Around ten people were arrested said police.

Brussels mayor Yvan Mayeur said police had done "nothing" to stop the hooligans coming to Brussels despite having advance warning, adding that he was "appalled" that "such thugs have come to provoke residents at the site of their memorial."

A maked protester raises a fist and the Belgian flag outside the Stock Exchange in Brussels, on March 27, 2016. [AFP]

Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel said he "emphatically" condemned the demonstration.

The mourners gathered despite the fact that organisers had earlier called off a "March Against Fear" in Brussels on Sunday at the request of Belgian authorities, who said police needed the resources for the attacks investigation.