On Sunday night, November 22nd, Belgium's capital city of Brussels remained under lockdown. Police asked citizens to clear the streets to stay safe as they conducted a manhunt, looking to arrest people who were involved in the attacks in Paris on November 13th.
During this vital, potentially dangerous operation, Brussels police asked residents not to tweet about police movements, because it could compromise the mission:
Defense Minister Steven Vandeput tweeted out asking for support:
Police are asking the public not to report their movements on social media, please support & rt #BrusselsLockdown— Steven Vandeput (@svandeput) November 22, 2015
Belgians responded in the classic European spirit of surrealism, tweeting adorable pictures of cats to cheer each other up without compromising the police's mission:
Plus, the hashtag yielded some jokes on the joke:
2050 "What did you do in the war, daddy?" "I posted cat pictures on twitter, son." #BrusselsLockdown— willem wollebrants (@willemw_) November 23, 2015
What started as an adorable bit actually became a powerful display of solidarity and defiance.
People from around the world congratulated Belgium on their brilliant use of the hashtag.
The police thanked Belgians for their discretion, and got in on the joke by offering a bowl of cat food. Way to be, Belgium!