On Monday evening, at approximately 17:30, a revolt erupted within Dendermonde prison as 74 prisoners resisted orders to return to their cells after their allotted recreation

time. This marks the fourth prison uprising in Belgium since Friday night, as confirmed by the Belgian Prison Service.

As of 20:00, the situation at Dendermonde prison remained unresolved. Kathleen Van De Vijver, a spokesperson for the prison, noted that tensions among the inmates may have been exacerbated by ongoing strikes. Prison staff across Belgium initiated a 48-hour strike at 22:00 on Sunday evening to protest against what they perceive as "inhumane" conditions affecting both the inmates and the staff themselves.

Protests began when prisoners were instructed to conclude their recreation time and re-enter their cells on Monday evening. A total of 74 inmates refused to comply with these orders. Federal police dispatched two sections to the scene at approximately 20:00, at which time 73 prisoners remained outside.

The ongoing unrest is linked to a series of grievances raised by prison staff, including prison overcrowding, staffing shortages, and what they view as the Justice Minister's unwavering determination to impose short sentences at any cost. Prior to the incident at Dendermonde prison, prison riots had already occurred in Turnhout, Hasselt, and Bruges since Friday night. The 48-hour strike initiated by prison staff began on Sunday and is slated to continue until 22:00 on Tuesday. Turnhout prison, in particular, has experienced severe overcrowding issues and required the intervention of specialized police units to restore order during a significant riot on Friday night. Photo by Michielverbeek, Wikimedia commons.