Cat Photos Show Solidarity for Citizens in Brussels

November 25
9:19 PM 2015

Police and armed forces are still searching for one Islamic State terrorist suspect and his accomplices in Brussels. Citizens cooperate with police to stop sharing information via Twitter, they shared photos of cat with #Brusselslockdown hashtag in Twitter.

Starting last Saturday, Belgian government issued a security lockdown in Brussels and tightening security measure. Citizens were told to avoid gathering in public, while subways, schools, and universities are closed down. Armored vehicles were parked around the city, and police hand-in-hand with armed forces patrol the city. Police has also made several raids in search for the suspect and accomplices.

According to CNBC, Belgian police arrested 21 more people in raids around Brussels by Monday afternoon. Police are still searching for other perpetrators and accomplices behind the deadly attacks in Paris. On Monday, Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel said that Brussels plan to maintain its highest level of security alert. The security measure is to be reviewed next week, as schools and metro system will re-open on Wednesday. In regard to the threat, Prime Minister said. "We are still confronted with the threat we were facing yesterday,"

With the city on lockdown, Brussels residents utilize the Internet to share situation in their city. However, police asked the residents not to tweet about police action, as it will interfere with police operations. Police order was also aimed to avoid the risk of terrorist suspects to escape. Since terrorists are known to use social media to coordinate their attack and searching for information.

However, citizen uses a creative way to express the situation in Brussels via Twitter. Photo of cats become a way to show situation in Brussels as people followed police orders. According to Canadian Broadcasting News, people flooded #BrusselsLockdown hashtag in Twitter with cats pictures. The hashtag shows numerous cats in various poses: cats following the rules, cats getting a little in over their heads or cats just being commonly cute felines.

As New York Times reported, cat photos will now be known as an internationally recognized symbol of solidarity. Meanwhile, Belgian minister of defense, Steven Vandeput, and the police in Brussels were probably not expecting a chorus of meows to rise from the depths of the Internet when they asked people to maintain social-media silence during the security crisis. Brussels police was also thankful with cats photos, as the Federal Police of Brussels respond with a tweet of cat picture and a tongue-in-cheek response on Monday.

A unique situation for using cat photos to show situation in Brussels was helpful for Belgian police to conduct raids and operation successfully. Although several suspects have been detained, but the lockdown is still in effect.

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