Brussels Police

Brussels police clash with thousands of partygoers

435 views

Thousands of people clashed with police in the Bois de Cambre park in the Belgian capital on Thursday during an event that began as an April Fool’s joke on Facebook.

Between 2,000 and 5,000 people made their way to one of Brussels’ largest parks to attend a festival dubbed “La Boum” (“the party”), with “eight stages, a hundred DJs and zero coronavirus rules”, according to The Brussels Times.

But when people turned up there was no entertainment. Footage posted to social media showed police officers charging into crowds on horseback.

In one particularly disturbing video, a young woman appears to be taking off her clothes when a number of police on horseback ride past and knock her to the ground.

Some in the crowd shouted “Freedom!” and threw projectiles.

Brussels police spokeswoman Ilse Van de keere told The Associated Press that 22 people were arrested and several police officers were injured. She said eight partiers were wounded, including two who were taken to hospital.

The scenes were captured just days after Belgium was plunged into a strict four-week lockdown from March 27.

“We are all depressed. I’ll be 18 in two weeks, we want to take advantage of our youth,” one student who attended the gathering told Reuters”We came not to annoy the police, but to show that we also have a life and want to enjoy it.”

“We evacuated the wood. Those who do not obey police risk arrest and prosecution,” Brussels Mayor Philippe Close said on Twitter.

Another event has been advertised for Friday in another Brussels park, promoted by a group called the Abyss. The group said it does not question the government’s strategy but fights for citizens’ rights to gather outdoors.

Brussels prosecutors have started an investigation to see who is behind the Facebook post.

 


With reporting by AP, Reuters and Brussels Times