Brussels, August 16: People angry at the Brussels authorities for mandating the use of face coverings in all public places to fight the COVID-19 pandemic gathered in the Belgian capital on Sunday to protest the new rules.

The demonstration is the first since the measures were announced in early August. People who do not wear a mask, including outdoors, face fines. Also Read | Ship Leaking Tons of Oil Off Mauritius Splits Apart : Live Breaking News Headlines & Coronavirus Updates on August 16, 2020.

"We are against limits on our freedom and repressions," an activist told Sputnik. The people held up placards reading "To live and die free!" and "Civil disobedience is a sacred duty: Freedom, equality, natural medicine!" Also Read | Somalia: 5 Killed, Several Injured After Gunmen Storm Elite Hotel in Mogadishu.

Belgium emerged as one of Europe's coronavirus epicenters in March and has the highest death rate per capita in the world.

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