BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Several people were injured and taken to hospital after supporters and opponents of the Turkish government clashed outside the country’s consulate in central Brussels on Thursday, Belgian police said.
Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel condemned the violence, which he linked to a forthcoming referendum in Turkey on increasing the powers of President Tayyip Erdogan.
“The Belgian government has absolute zero tolerance for any spillovers from the Turkish referendum. I condemn the riots at the embassy in Brussels,” he said on Twitter.
A police spokeswoman said she could give no further details on the number of people hurt or the nature of their injuries. The Turkish mission to Brussels could not be immediately reached for comment.
Ties between Turkey and European Union states have deteriorated in recent weeks over Turkish government attempts to rally support for Erdogan among expatriate Turks.
Erdogan reacted with fury after Germany and the Netherlands - which, like Belgium, have big Turkish minorities - moved to restrict political rallies on their soil in the run-up to the April 16 referendum.
Kurdish news agency Firat said the Thursday incident took place as people arrived at the consulate in Brussels to cast early ‘no’ votes in the referendum. Reuters was not able to confirm that independently.
Reporting by Alastair Macdonald, Gabriela Baczynska, Phil Blenkinsop and Hortense de Roffignac; Editing by Mark Trevelyan