BRUSSELS — When Belgian police asked citizens to not tweet about the armed operations taking place throughout the country on Sunday, the public united in solidarity as one nation — under cats.
Following the Paris attacks on Nov. 13, Belgian police conducted a series of raids in Central Brussels and detained 16 suspects. In an effort to keep their mission as stealth and successful as possible, the city’s armed forces issued an official request for citizens to keep off social media.
The city has been on the highest possible terror alert level for what Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel called an “imminent threat” to the capital, according to USA Today.
In the wake of this utmost chaos, the Belgian citizens managed to adhere to the police’s request but refused to be completely silent during this time of national distress.
As a result, Twitter is now home to a flood of cat pictures all strategically marked with the #BrusselsLockdown hashtag, which had nearly 190,000 mentions by Sunday night.
The people of Belgium really outdid themselves with their use of creative costumes and comical Tweets and the movement goes to show that cat humor is appreciated worldwide – as it rightfully should be.
— Paul (@au_taquet) November 22, 2015
— Yves-A. de Montjoye (@yvesalexandre) November 22, 2015
And the best hashtag of the year goes to #BrusselsLockdown, I've rarely been so proud to be Belgian. Fighting terror with surrealism
— Valentin Calomme (@ValentinCalomme) November 22, 2015
— Daily Mirror (@DailyMirror) November 22, 2015
Tbf the very possible idea of angry, confused terrorists scrolling through the #BrusselsLockdown hashtag is making me quite happy right now
— Dan Roberts (@danroberts11) November 22, 2015