New strict measures in force 'to ensure safety' in Brussels North Quarter

New strict measures in force 'to ensure safety' in Brussels North Quarter
Rogier metro station. Credit: Julien Warnand / Belga

Since Thursday, strict rules are in force to guarantee the safety in Brussels' North Quarter following several incidents of violence against police officers – one of which resulted in the death of an officer – in recent weeks.

The new rules are part of an ordinance to restrict opening hours of shops selling alcohol, ban gatherings of more than five people posing a threat to public safety, and make systematic identity checks possible.

"With this ordinance, we are entering a new phase by addressing the problems in the neighbourhood in a targeted manner without shortchanging our traders, who also suffer from this insecurity," said the mayor of Brussels municipality Saint-Josse-ten-Noode, Emir Kir, in a press release.

Making the North Quarter a priority

"The answers we bring at the local level are one thing, but alone we will not get there. Once again, I appeal to our federal ministers. Please, let us not wait for another tragedy," he said, adding that solutions can be found if the North Quarter is made "an absolute priority."

Kir urged the authorities to find a concrete answer "to the suffering of our residents and our local police," adding that this cannot go on like this any longer.

The new ordinance replaces the previous one issued after the death of inspector Thomas Monjoie in early November, which provided for a drastic restriction on all nighttime and commercial activities in the North Quarter to improve safety.

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Since Monjoie's death, frustrations have reportedly continued to pile up among the police force, and nearly 30 officers collectively called in sick earlier this week following a new incident in which an 11-year-old boy who had run away hit a police officer twice with a folding knife in his fist.

This new ordinance, which aims to guarantee better safety in the North Quarter, will remain in force until 15 January and was issued jointly with the municipality of Schaerbeek.

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