Brussels is Hungry
After they announced that every person would receive a herring at the Halles Saint-Géry, people gathered in mass around the covered market. The crowd was so dense that the police had a hard job keeping order. Soon it appeared that there were far more candidates than herrings, and discontentment arose, with a few hustles. Brussels was hungry. The importation of goods had fallen radically, causing severe price increases. The food crisis contributed to social tension.
In February 1916, scarcity caused a food riot in Molenbeek: a handful of women took over the municipal house, before being dispersed by the fire brigade. Popular rage was frequently directed against shopkeepers, who were suspected of profiting from general distress. At the liberation, the first victims of popular revenge would be black market traffickers, accused of having taken advantage of the war.