Police on horseback and using a water cannon have charged a crowd of thousands of people who had gathered in a Brussels park for a fake concert announced on social media as an April Fool’s Day prank.

Journalists at the scene saw at least one police officer injured and several people in the crowd arrested in the Bois de la Cambre park on the south side of the Belgian capital.

The police, wearing protective helmets and advancing in a line, moved in to enforce strict Covid-19 social-distancing rules that prohibit gatherings of more than four people outdoors. The crowd responded by throwing projectiles, hitting at least one police officer.

Brussels law enforcement authorities on Wednesday had issued a warning that the announcement on social media of a “party” was illegal and that its organisers could be prosecuted.

Police were not immediately able to give numbers for the size of the crowd, deployment of officers or the number of arrests.

Belgium on Saturday imposed tighter restrictions aimed at curbing surging Covid infection numbers.

They included closing schools, keeping borders closed, limiting access to non-essential shops and limiting the number of people able to meet outdoors to four.

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