Over the weekend, the city of Brussels was effectively shut down on suspicion of terrorists working in the city to plan an attack. Police said the threat was “serious and imminent,” according to the AP.
The city’s subway system, schools, and universities were all shut down, with some people describing Brussels as a “ghost town.” The police asked that people not tweet about police operations during the hunt for an Islamic State terrorism cell.
Twitter users largely respected the police department’s request, but also responded with the hashtag #BrusselsLockdown — which they promptly filled with cat pictures.
The tweets vary from jokes about staying inside…
…to how Belgium would handle the terrorists.
There were humorous tweets with false information about the police operations.
Or about “suspicious” packages that were “found.”
And of course some people just used the opportunity to post pictures of their cute cats.
But mostly, the internet was proud that something it loves so much — namely cats — was used to lift people’s moods during a scary time.
CNN points out that not only did the light hearted pictures have the effect of boosting morale in the city, but that they “effectively buried” any tweets that were sharing police movements or other sensitive information on the social platform.
The Belgian federal police force even tweeted out a thank you to all those who tweeted out cat pictures with a big bowl of cat food. “For the cats who helped us yesterday,” the tweet says.
The city remains on lockdown as police conduct a manhunt. Nearly 30 raids have been conducted and over 20 people arrested since the lockdown began on Saturday, according to Reuters.
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