Brussels — Police used tear gas and water cannons on Thursday to disperse thousands of young people who gathered in Brussels Park for a party that ignored the Belgian COVID-19 lockdown. The event started as an April Fool’s Facebook joke.
Approximately 2,000 people attended the “La Boum” (party) at Cambre Forest Park at the end of a warm, sunny day, according to local police, but the organizers revealed a social media invitation a few days ago. I made it. It was a hoax. Local media has a population of about 5,000.
Hundreds of police, many in riot control equipment, some on horseback, and backed up by water cannon trucks and tear gas, tied the knots of those who swallowed by the lake in the park.
Many in the crowd raised their fists and chanted “freedom,” and some threw bottles and stones at the water cannon truck.
“We’re all depressed. I’ll be 18 in two weeks. We want to take advantage of our youth,” Amelie, a high school student at the party, told Reuters. .. “We came not to annoy the police, but to show that we also have a life and want to enjoy it.”
At least two civilians were injured in the collision, one of whom was killed by a police horse, a Reuters reporter at the scene said. A police spokesman said three police officers were injured and four were arrested.
The party announcement posted on Facebook in March promised a one-time reunion with numerous DJs, singers and producers Calvin Harris and the French band Daft Punk in the largest park in the Belgian capital.
Belgium rushed into the third COVID-19 blockade last weekend, limiting the group to four and gathering outside, but this week’s fine weather has already brought thousands to the park.
The fake party scrambled police and prosecutors after saying that about 20,000 people would attend.
A Brussels prosecutor has launched an investigation to identify the person behind the Facebook post.
Mayor Philip Clos of Brussels understands that people need fresh air, but said such gatherings are not allowed.
“We have evacuated the tree. Those who do not follow the police run the risk of arrest and prosecution,” he said on Twitter.