Social media has its benefits, with hashtags allowing us both to support and express solidarity during a tragedy, and to inform the world of movements we wouldn’t have had a clue about without such connectivity. Unfortunately, social media networks can also provide a clubhouse for terrorists and criminals, and can sometimes harm as much as help. Recently, however, the Belgian people found a way to lessen the chances of social media causing harm or interfering with the police’s anti-terror raids — with cats, of course.
According to NBC News, nearly two dozen police raids, involving 1,000 officers, took place in Brussels, Belgium, over the weekend. Following the attack in Paris that caused 130 deaths and hundreds of injuries, it was suspected that one of the gunmen responsible, Salah Abdeslam, might be hiding in Brussels.
In order to prevent residents accidentally disclosing plans or locations for the police raids, the department requested that the public refrain from posting any information regarding the raids on social media.
Police are asking the public not to report their movements on social media, please support & rt #BrusselsLockdown
— Steven Vandeput (@svandeput) November 22, 2015
In response, the #BrusselsLockdown hashtag began trending worldwide and was flooded not with important secret information but instead by cats, which has to be one of the cutest, fluffiest hashtags ever to result from a police raid.
— ElisabettaCanalis (@JustElisabetta) November 23, 2015
Authorities carried out approximately 20 searches, which resulted in 16 arrests, but that did not find any firearms or explosives, according to CNN. Salah Abdeslam was also not found, and the city remains on high terror alert. As of today, subway and bus systems are still closed, and many large events have been canceled for the time being.