A Brussels square serving as a memorial site for victims of Tuesday's bombing attacks turned tense on Sunday when protesters wearing black arrived, shouting slogans and carrying a banner with an expletive against ISIS.

CBC's Thomas Daigle, reporting from Brussels, said the square was full of people mourning and peacefully paying respects to the victims of the explosions at the city's airport and a train station. 

It is not clear exactly what the demonstrators said, but Daigle reported that mourners responded to them by chanting, "we're all children of immigrants."

There was "pushing and shoving" and "tense moments," Daigle reported. 


On one side of the Brussels memorial outside the old stock exchange, people paid their respects. On the other side, there were protesters. Riot police stood in between. (Yves Herman/Reuters)

Police wearing riot gear arrived with vehicles carrying water cannons, and the demonstrators were moved out of the square. 

A march for solidarity had originally been planned for Sunday, but organizers agreed to postpone it after the Belgian government appealed to people not to attend, saying police resources were too stretched.

"We understand fully the emotions," Interior Minister Jan Jambon said in making the appeal on Saturday. "We understand that everyone wants to express these feelings." ​

A total of 31 people died and 270 were wounded in the Brussels attacks.        

Belgium Attacks

A right wing demonstrator holds up a flare as he protests at a Brussels memorial on Sunday. (Alastair Grant/Associated Press)

With files from CBC's Thomas Daigle, The Associated Press and Reuters