( CNN) This weekend, Belgians were confronted with the dispassionate actuality that their capital has been placed under the highest level of horror alert, due to an unspecified “serious and imminent threat.”

The city’s institutions, universities and subway system persist closed Monday as approvals scramble to situate people they fear could be intend Paris-style assaults on Brussels, the country’s capital and residence of the primary seat of the European Parliament.

But rather than give in to fear, Belgians have responded on social media with a defiant sense of whimsy. And cat draws — mints and lots of “cat-o-nine-tail” pictures.

The stream of “cat-o-nine-tail” pics was provoked when the country’s federal police made a request on Twitter for the public to maintain silence about the ongoing counter-terror functionings on social media, for fear of alerting potential targets of the attacks to patrol movements.

Twitter useds spate the hashtag #BrusselsLockdown with cat memes, in a potent gesture that pictured they wouldn’t lose their sense of humour over the horror threat — and effectively hid any lawful intellect on police crusades that might have been shared.