An Antiterrorism Standoff In Brussels Is Being Fought with Cat Pics
At least four police officers were shot during an ongoing counterterrorism operation in Brussels this afternoon, with one suffering serious injuries. The raid, a joint operation between Belgian and French authorities, was part of the nation’s crackdown in the city following November’s horrifying terrorist attacks in Paris that killed 130 people and injured 413 others. After surrounding a house in the section of the city known as Forest, suspects fired Kalashnikov assault rifles at police through the front door. It’s unclear at this point how many exchanges of gunfire occurred or if some of the suspects fled to the roof, but a standoff and lockdown of some of the city’s roads and transit outlets is in effect. While the standoff drags on, Belgians have taken to Twitter once again to stay up-to-date and help fight the threat of terrorism the only way they know how—with cat photos.
— Peter Pycke (@PyckenZot) March 15, 2016
Belgian citizens have taken to posting cat photos to stay informed about the terror lockdowns without spreading photos and videos that could aid terrorists. The terrorist group who was responsible for the Paris attack, ISIS, has become well known for its use of social media to stay informed on what’s happening in the world. Yet any attempts to look to social media for updates on Belgium will be met with a feline firewall in Belgium.
— Statler (@Chaos_Be) March 15, 2016
The trend began last year when the country’s capital city was put on total lockdown as police hunted for Salah Abdeslam, the last living member of the terror cell responsible for the attack in Paris. He and the other terrorists had set up their hub in Brussels before the attack; afterwards, he fled back to the city and has evaded capture ever since.
— TineEeckhout (@TineEeckhout) November 22, 2015
When the country’s federal police force issued the tweet requesting social media silence, Belgians joined with Twitter users around the world to flood the #BrusselsLockdown tag with enough cat photos to keep a crazy cat lady with Wi-Fi happy for a century. As the ongoing situation in Brussels forces another partial lockdown, the cat pics have come through again to protect the police working to end the standoff and manhunt. It’s a testament to humanity that, in the face of terror, cat photos can carry the message of hope and resilience we need.
Images via Tumblr and The New York Times.
Stay tuned to Milk for more purrrnicious terror threats.