— Astro AWANI (@501Awani) November 24, 2015
Brussels Lockdown: People in Brussels Fight Terror with Cat Pictures
What better way to fight terror than with pictures of cute, fluffy cats and their antics? Well, that is certainly what the people of Brussels have been thinking over the last few days, as they used cat pictures to help the police to keep their operations secret. Feeling confused? All will become clear…
A few days ago, anti terror police in Brussels began an operation in one of their suburbs, seeing (among others) the supposed mastermind behind the recent terror attacks in Paris. As modern Twitter users tend to do, people who had got wind of the police operation started to tweet details about it for everyone to see. Locations, times, dates, and even photographs of the various police operations started to pop up on Twitter, marked by the hashtag #brusselslockdown. The ‘lockdown’ part of the hashtag relates to the fact that over the past few days, Brussels has been subject to a pretty strict curfew, with schools closed on Monday in the capital and the country’s terror alert raised to level 4: its highest possible level. As you can see, the situation in Brussels is serious, and the police operations in various locations in the capital are sensitive ones.
So what did the Brussels police do when they saw the hashtag? Well, for a start, they got a little mad with the people who had posted it. Several official announcements appeared from the anti terror police and various civic institutions, requesting Belgian citizens not to tweet information about the operations also started to appear on Twitter. And then…the Belgian public responded in their own way…
The problem was, even though the police and other institutions had asked people to stop posting information about the police operations, their tweets were still visible on Twitter. This information could potentially be used by terrorists to keep themselves out of the eye of the law. So, ordinary Belgian citizens decided to bury tweets about the police operations under a mountain of cute cat pictures. By matching up cat pictures with the hashtag #brusselslockdown, they soon swamped out any description of the operations under a deluge of fluffy felines.
The trend grew and more and more people started posting pictures of their cats, with some people even jokingly posting cats that seemed to be acting out their own ‘lockdown’ (hiding under the duvet for instance). Try searching for the hashtag yourself: I challenge you to piece together much info about the police raids from the huge wave of cat pics. It is like finding a needle in a haystack.
The response to this trend on Twitter has been overwhelmingly positive. One user, for instance, explained the trend for posting cat pictures and added simply ‘love my country <3’. For us devoted cat lovers, this is another example of cats saving the day yet again. Even if you do not live in Belgium, you can lend a helping hand by tweeting a picture of your cat and #brusselslockdown.
— Dr Paul Coxon (@paulcoxon) November 22, 2015