Lauren Smith | Contributing Writer | Monday, 23 November 2015

Belgians Responded To The #BrusselsLockdown By Flooding Social Media With Cat Photos

The Debrief: Belgians Are Tweeting Cute Cat Pics

Brussels has been on lockdown since Saturday night, as the city is placed under the highest terrorism alert, and authorities search for Salah Abdeslam, the man suspected to be behind the Paris attacks.

On Sunday, as the country's major anti-terror police operation began in the capital city, the public was asked to not report officers' movements online, and to adopt a social media silence to keep the police safe. 

Belgians responded to the request - but not in the way you'd think. Twitter users posted images and videos of cats, in order to drown out any leaking of operational details, alongside the hashtag #BrusselsLockdown. Their actions quickly went viral, with countless cute cat memes, photos and jokes flooding the social network. 

The craze was thought to be started by a cameraman for Dutch channel NOS, Hugo Janssen, who tweeted: 'Instead of tweets about police activty in Brussels, here's a picture of our cat Mozart.' 



Other responses were a mix of cute cat photos and wry humour  - from a kitten reading books on Military Secrecy, to a group of cats posing as the National Security Council. Our fave? The teeny kitten dressed as Puss In Boots alongside the caption 'I got this'. 


The tweets quickly went viral, with many praising Belgians for their innovative response to authorities' requests. And Belgium's Crisis Centre tweeted on Sunday: 'Thank to the media and citizens or their silence online as asked.' 

Spinning one of the internet's favourite topics into a powerful response to a terror crisis?  Well played, Brussels, well played. 

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