Reduced terrorist threat level in Belgium but still need for military presence in the capital

Tuesday, 23 January 2018 07:56
Reduced terrorist threat level in Belgium but still need for military presence in the capital © Belga
The Belgian government announced yesterday that the threat level was reduced from 3 (a serious and credible threat) to 2 (average and unlikely).
The reduction in the threat level should however not result in the disappearance of military personnel near sensitive places according to Philippe Close (PS), mayor of the city of Brussels.

"For us it is important that places considered as critical from a risk point of view, such as embassies, the Jewish Museum and synagogues, should continue to have a military presence because, otherwise, the police will have to take charge and will be less present in the neighborhoods," he commented in an interview on Monday (22 January) on the sidelines of a meeting of the communal council.

Close added that he understands the federal government's intention to reduce the number of soldiers on the street as a result of the lowering of the threat level. "I’m in favor of collaboration and searching for solutions," he underlined.

According to the mayor, security measures taken during major public events will not disappear because "times have changed" and the population understands it.

"People are getting used not come to big events with backpacks and are behaving well at police searches. We are trying to create a climate that is as less uncomfortable as possible. The citizens seem to support the work of the police" he said.

The Coordinating Body for Threat Analysis (Ocam) reduced Monday the general threat level in Belgium from 3 to 2 (on a scale of 1 to 4), announced Prime Minister Charles Michel, while insisting on the need to maintain vigilance.

The Prime Minister warned that soldiers deployed in major cities since January 17, 2015, will not disappear immediately from the streets. "We are keeping the military in a proportionate way," he said.

Oscar Schneider
The Brussels Times
Google Plus

More Stories

Antwerp social aid agency must stop using private detectives to investigate applicants

Antwerp social aid agency must stop using private detectives to investigate applicants

The municipal social aid agency (OCMW) in Antwerp has stopped using the services of private detectives to investigate aid claimants, following a decision by the organisation's outgoing chair, Fons Duchateau.

Jewish museum trial: victims' relatives speak out

Jewish museum trial: victims' relatives speak out

Following on from the presentation of the prosecution case and the arguments for the defence, Friday was the day when the trial of Mehdi Nemmouche in Brussels heard statements from the civil parties – representatives of the Jewish Museum, witnesses and relatives of the victims.

5G technology will not be achieved before 2020 at the earliest

5G technology will not be achieved before 2020 at the earliest

It will not be possible to introduce 5G technology in Belgium in 2019, L'Echo and De Tijd both report on Friday.