Police in Wallonia caught attendants of a lockdown birthday party red-handed after they effectively gave themselves away by setting off fireworks.
Local police in the town of Colfontaine, near Mons, said that a patrol making rounds in the area only noticed the illegal gathering as the fireworks cracked and sizzled above the location.
As their display flamboyantly backfired, all attendants to the party were issued a report and a fine notice for €250 for violating Belgium’s current ban on gatherings, 7sur7 reports.
The operator of the fireworks display was also fined, following a ministerial decree banning the use of fireworks in efforts to avoid crowding amid the coronavirus crisis, with Flemish officials pushing for an all-out, nationwide ban during the holidays.
The incident on Tuesday is the latest in a string of reports of violations of the coronavirus ban on gatherings, with over a dozen lockdown parties or gatherings reported by Belgian police since the weekend.
In Antwerp, where a significant number of gatherings has taken place in the past weeks, authorities said they would crack down on future violations and refer offenders straight before a judge.
The incidents also come amid growing concern among public officials and health experts that the approach of the holiday season may bring with it a rise in lockdown violations and trigger a disastrous third coronavirus wave for Belgium.
The Brussels Times