An April Fool’s Day game ended badly this afternoon (1st) in one of the busiest parks in Brussels. Thousands of people flocked to Parque de la Cambre after the announcement of a fake music festival and were dispersed by mounted police, causing people to run away and injured.
The fictional event, called La Boum (the party), announced on social media that it would have “eight stages, 100 internationally renowned DJs [Calvin Harris, DJ Snake e Skrillex entre ele] and zero rules for coronavirus ”. Anonymous organizers clarified that it was an April Fool’s Day joke, “aimed at making fun of certain measures taken in the context of the coronavirus pandemic”, but thousands of people have confirmed their interest .
Claiming that the joke was dangerous, the Brussels public prosecutor’s office opened an investigation at the end of March to identify the organizers of La Boom. The Brussels administration also issued statements claiming the festival was “bogus and unauthorized”.
To contain the contagion of Covid-19, Belgium has already banned the meeting of more than 10 people outdoors and, since last week, reduced the limit to 6, due to the increase in the number of new cases.
Police again warned on Wednesday that the event was just a joke and that it would take place in the park “to prevent any illegal meeting, in case some people try to go to the party anyway.”
But the holidays in the middle of spring, with blue skies and temperatures above 20 ° C, drew thousands of people to the park, who, in the absence of a festival with DJs, threw their own party. Televisions and social media showed crowds of young people dancing and partying.
When the police arrived, around 5 p.m. local time, 12 noon in Brazil, many refused to disperse and started throwing bottles and other objects at the officers, who responded with water cannons, pepper spray and tear gas.
Mounted police also intervened, causing a stampede. The footage showed regulars hit by horses and people bleeding after the fighting.
At around 6.30 p.m., the mayor of the city of Brussels, Philippe Close, wrote in a social network that agglomerations “will not be tolerated” as the country struggles to fight the coronavirus pandemic.
“Anyone who does not follow police orders risks arrest and prosecution,” wrote the mayor, who thanked “the people who have been following the rules for over a year” and the police “for the hard work” .
At 7:30 p.m., the police station said four people had been arrested and three policemen were injured. There was no information on the number of injured clients.
For this Friday, another unauthorized event was also referred to as, The Abyss (The Abyss), in Cinquentenário Park, near the European Commission.
Unlike the La Boom festival, where the hoax was explicit, the organizers say the party aims to safeguard the “vital need” of young people to celebrate “in a park, in the open air”.
“We claim our right to come together as informed and free citizens. It is one of the pillars of our Constitution, of our fundamental freedoms. Our humanity, ”says the call.
“We just want to party like it’s the last time. As if tomorrow we could succumb to a virus that came out of nowhere, ”they say, adding that they don’t want“ overflow ”or“ mess ”.
Until the evening of Thursday, 3,000 Internet users were interested and 968 confirmed their presence. Brussels police have asked people to disclose the warning that the event is not allowed.