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#BrusselsLockdown is a satirical hashtag started by Belgian Twitter users in response to the police urging people to restrain from sharing any details of the ongoing anti-terror police operations in search of the suspects involved in the 2015 Paris Terror Attacks.
On November 13th, 2015, the French and Belgian authorities launched massive police raids in search of several suspects in the Paris terror attacks still believed to be at large, including Salah Abdeslam, a 26-years-old Belgian-born French national who rented a car and drove the attackers to the Bataclan theatre on the night of the attacks. By November 16th, the French investigators and European news outlets had identified Abdeslam as a key suspect and the only perpetrator presumed to be still living and hiding in Brussels.
On November 21st, the Belgian government raised its terrorist threat alert to the maximum level after determining that another major attack was being planned in Brussels, which effectively placed the city under lockdown. On November 22nd, as the Belgian police conducted counter-terrorism raids across the city, Belgian Defence Minister Steven Vandeput tweeted:
That same day, Twitter user @JayceLight posted a photoshopped image of two Stormtroopers on Bullet Cats along with a message poking fun at the alarmist nature of the Belgian government's attempt at silencing the social media in the name of counter-terrorism (shown below).
Between November 22nd and 23rd, many other Twitter users in Belgium and elsewhere chimed in on the satirical hashtag by sharing dozens of classic LOLcat images paired with mock headlines. According to Topsy, the hashtag #BrusselsLockdown was tweeted more than 220,000 times in less than 24 hours.
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 Wikipedia – 2015 Brussels lockdown
 BBC – Paris attacks: Manhunt for Salah Abdeslam and accomplices
 The Guardian – Brussels in lockdown after terror threat level is raised to maximum
 The Independent – On the run from Isis: Jihadists ‘targeting Paris attacker Salah Abdeslam for chickening out of killings’
 Twitter – Steven Vandeput's Tweet
fn6 .Twitter – Jaycelight's Tweet
 Twitter – Max Seddon's Tweet
 Twitter – Hashtag Results for #BrusselsLockdown
 Topsy – Tweets per day: #BrusselsLockdown
 Yahoo News – Feline surreal: Belgians tweet cat photos for #BrusselsLockdown
 TIME – Belgians Fight Terror With Cat Memes During #BrusselsLockdown
 Salon – #BrusselsLockdown flooded with cat pics: Belgian police request social media blackout, lolcats ensue
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Nov 23, 2015 at 05:29PM EST
Nov 23, 2015 at 05:44PM EST in reply to
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