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Police finds arms, explosives, but protests weaken

Police finds arms, explosives, but protests weaken

4 by Yannick LAMBERT 2 min. 19.12.2021 From our online archive
Several hundred protestors gather at Schuman roundabout, according to eye witnesses
Protest in Luxembourg City
Protest in Luxembourg City

(Updated with more information about protests)

Police found arms and explosives in a home during searches in the wake of the raucous anti-vaccine protests of the last few weeks, although the number of people taking to the streets on Saturday dropped.

"During the house search ordered by the investigating judge, the special unit of the Grand-Ducal Police discovered a high quantity of explosives and other weapons and ammunition this Saturday morning in the east of the country," the country's prosecution said in a press release on Saturday.

Police had identified a man who threw fireworks at an anti-Covid protest a week ago, it said, and the army's demining service had been involved in the search. 

Two weeks ago, protests turned violent when protestors stormed a Christmas market and intimidated Prime Minister Xavier Bettel by protesting outside his home and scratching his husband's car.

But protests on Saturday were smaller than two weeks ago. There were two protests at first, a small one at the Glacis and another one counting some hundred marching from the Gare area to the Glacis, escorted by police. 

In the end, several hundred protestors gathered at the Schuman roundabout, according to press reports. Two weeks ago, more than 2,000 people still took to the streets.

In the late afternoon, police said that the Avenue de la Porte-Neuve and the Schuman roundabout were blocked, while people tweeted images of protestors having made their way in the city centre outside outside of the designated security area, disrupting traffic and shoppers.  The protest, during which six arrests were made, quickly dissolved afterwards, the police said on Saturday.

Residents refusing vaccination were the target of stricter measures Parliament adopted on Thursday. It will become harder and more expensive for them to go to work or to go to a bar or restaurants. The protestors object to the CovidCheck system, which shows whether a person is protected against the disease, but many of them are also opposed to vaccinations in general.

Amid criticism that the government had not taken the threat seriously and should have acted earlier, Bettel last week announced the use of more police and restricted the protest to the Glacis area. Luxembourg also got help from Belgian riot police with water cannons and dogs.

A man suspected of sending threatening letters to Prime Minster Xavier Bettel has been indicted, Luxembourg officials said earlier this month.

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