Brussels-A joke on April Fools’ Day went wrong, a false music festival announcement caused thousands of people to ignore Covid-19 restrictions and hold a party in a major park in Brussels on Thursday. When the police faced the crowd, several policemen and participants were injured and four were arrested.
The unusually warm weather in the city is likely to attract more people to the park, but hoaxes increase the density of people. The frustration in Belgium is high, especially among young people. Due to months of restrictions, new Covid-19 cases have increased and hospitals have become saturated. The frustration is particularly serious.
Organizers pointed out that the festival was a scam, but according to the police, after thousands of people registered their interest in the event on Facebook, there were still 1,500 to 2,000 people gathered in Bois de la Cambre on Thursday afternoon. park. The police said that despite some warnings, the participants refused to leave. Some chanted “Freedom!” and threw the bottles. The police used water guns and sent out mounted police to disperse the crowd.
Belgium has been semi-closed since October, restaurants and bars are closed, residents must work at home, and social connections are restricted to one person per household. As long as you wear a mask and follow the rules of keeping your distance from society, up to four people are allowed to meet outside. Last week, in response to the increase in new cases and the increase in hospitalized patients, the Belgian authorities tightened regulations, ordered the closure of hairdressers and beauty salons, and allowed non-essential shops to serve customers only by appointment.
Prime Minister Alexander De Croo tweeted that the gathering in Brussels was “completely unacceptable.”
“All support for the injured police,” he added. “I know everyone is tired of corona. But the rules there are for a reason, and they are binding on everyone. The hospitals are almost full. Unity now is the key to freedom tomorrow.”
Annlieses Verlinden, the Belgian Minister of the Interior, admitted: “For many people, especially young people, the Covid crisis is now going on for a long time.” But she said that the gathering in Brussels was “for all People who do their best to respect the coronavirus measures are a slap in the face.”
On Wednesday, a Brussels court ordered the Belgian government to remove all Covid-19 restrictions, ruling that these measures have no legal basis because they were formulated by ministerial decree. But the court gave the government 30 days to correct the situation, and a special pandemic law is currently being discussed in parliament.