Incidents during the New Year in Brussels: “Police and firefighters are targeted by heavier fireworks than before”
By Julian Thomas
VSsaturday evening, Brussels abounded in festivities linked to the New Year. The city center was full of people. No less than 50,000 spectators attended the traditional fireworks display. Access to the Place des Palais, with a capacity of 19,000 spectators, and to the Parc de Bruxelles, with a capacity of 13,000 spectators, had to be closed around 11:30 p.m. Despite the number and importance of festive events, the Brussels Capitale-Ixelles police do not deplore any major incident in the capital. “It should be noted and the fireworks went well. It has the merit of being quoted, ”explains its spokesperson Ilse Van de Keere.
At the statistical level, the 160 arrests made during the night of New Year’s Eve constitute a figure lower than that of the transition to the new year between 2019 and 2020. At the time, during the last New Year’s Eve without health restrictions, the Brussels police had carried out 200 arrests. The security record of this New Year’s Eve is not rosy for all that. Law enforcement and emergency services were once again the target of a series of throwing objects, including fireworks.
“It is unfortunately a New Year like any other. We have very good cooperation with the police and we have no injuries to our men and women, but they are emotionally affected. They do not understand why, as first aiders, they have to work under the protection of the police and be attacked. The phenomenon dates back at least ten years, but there is no turning point. It is also not a Brussels or even Belgian concern, but a European one, ”explains the spokesperson for the Brussels firefighters Walter Derieuw. For its part, the Brussels Capital-Ixelles police zone points to the use against its officers of ever heavier fireworks. “The jets of fireworks are unfortunately not a new phenomenon, but we must on the other hand note that those used are more and more powerful. And therefore more and more dangerous.
Firefighters and paramedics also carried out 200 and 500 interventions in the capital. These concerned in particular 57 trash cans destroyed or on fire and 26 car fires. “It seems to me that there are a little more than last year. The vehicles are not always completely damaged, but there is still an attempt at arson. This happened in different places in Brussels, for example at the town hall of Anderlecht, rue Marie Henriette in Ixelles or even rue Egide Walschaerts in Saint-Gilles”.
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