'Yellow vest' protest in Brussels turns violent

People wearing yellow vests take part in a protest against the rising of the fuel and oil prices in Brussels.

People wearing yellow vests take part in a protest against the rising of the fuel and oil prices in Brussels.

BRUSSELS - Belgian anti-riot officers used water cannon on Friday to disperse stone-throwing "yellow vest" protesters who burned two police vehicles in central Brussels, according to an AFP journalist at the scene.

Around 300 people demonstrated near major EU buildings at the call of the spreading "yellow vest" movement, which had already organised large protests across France to complain about fuel tax increases.

A number of the demonstrations in France have turned violent and Friday's event in neighbouring Belgium was marred by protesters throwing objects including cobblestones and pool balls, a police spokeswoman said.

After being dispersed by water cannon, protesters set fire to two police vans.

Around 60 people found to be armed with box-cutters, smoke bombs or tear gas canisters were arrested, a police spokeswoman told AFP.

"Incomprehensible violence towards the police who do their best every day to protect citizens and society. Scandalous," tweeted Belgian Interior Minister Jan Jambon.

The protest began around 10:30am and swelled as it passed through the streets, attempting several times to get close to official buildings guarded by police cordons. 

The "yellow vest" protests -- named after the neon jackets drivers are required to carry in their car in France -- have spilt over into French-speaking southern Belgium but not caught on in the rest of the country.