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French riots spread to Belgium as hundreds go on rampage at home of EU

Belgain protests
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

Shop owners ran to their doors amid fears they could become innocent victims of clashes between police and the mob.

Peaceful protesters continued on their march away from the Commission with their hands held aloft above their heads as they passed awaiting riot police.

Several hundred people eventually converged on the office of Prime Minister Charles Michel.

Crowds demanded the resignation of the PM as they chanted "Michel, resign!"

Michel is a liberal ally of Macron, who voiced sympathy for people's troubles on Thursday. But he added: "Money doesn't fall from the sky."

His centre-right coalition faces an election in May.

A tweet from the Belgian leader said: "No impunity for unacceptable violence in Brussels. Those who came to smash and loot must be punished."

Protests in Belgium, notably around fuel depots in the French-speaking south, have been inspired by the yellow vest - or "gilet jaune" - actions in France.

The yellow vests staged demonstrations on the Champs-Élysées last week in protest at increases in fuel duty imposed by President Emmanuel Macron's government as part of efforts to reduce emissions causing global warming.
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