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Follow the Hashtag

Furry animals invade Twitter during Brussels manhunt

After Belgian police asked social media users not to tweet their movements during the manhunt for two terror suspects, users started posted images of otters, cats and Forrest Gump with the hashtag #ForestLockdown.

On Tuesday, an anti-terror operation led to a gunfight between three men and police in the Belgian capital of Brussels. One shooter was killed and two escaped but were caught and arrested on Wednesday morning.

Soon after the shootout began, Belgian police asked social media users not to tweet photos or sensitive information concerning their movements or locations. So users started the hashtag #ForestLockdown in reference to the district of Brussels where the manhunt was underway and began posting images of furry animals.

Mostly otters.

Some cats.

A few ducks.

And of course some images of Tom Hanks playing Forrest Gump.

This was a repeat of a similar situation in November when police raided numerous locations in Brussels in pursuit of suspects linked to the terror attacks in Paris. This led to a virtual lockdown of the city and the hashtag #BrusselsLockdown soon filled up with photos of police cars and their locations.

Officials then asked the public not to tweet police activities. No one knows who started the trend but soon after #BrusselsLockdown became the domain of cats, cats and more cats.

The whole world joined in to support the people of Brussels as humor – then and now – took the place of terror for a few hours.

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