'We knew there would be problems': Brussels mayor defends management of 'La Boum 2'

'We knew there would be problems': Brussels mayor defends management of 'La Boum 2'
A previous edition of La Boum. © Nicolas Maeterlinck/Belga

The mayor of the city of Brussels, Philippe Close, has defended his management of the "La Boum 2" event, which resulted in clashes and violence in the Bois de la Cambre on Saturday.

Close backed his decision made earlier in the week to keep the park open to the public during the week, saying that the closure of the park would have been an impossible tactic that would have required the deployment of "thousands of police officers" during an interview on RTL-TVI.

"We knew there would be problems. Strong measures were needed, but completely closing off this important green space in the capital would have amounted to taking hostage all the inhabitants of Brussels who can use this wood," Close said.

"We were not going to amputate a part of the territory," he added.

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Asked about the heavy-handed intervention of the police, which included the use of several water cannon, Close said he had given the order to intervene when police officers started to be attacked, when the public property was destroyed, and when fights started between participants, adding that, in such situations, the job of a mayor is to restore order.

He said that the "La Boum 2" event was not about freedom of expression, but more about "freedom of provocation".

MR president Georges-Louis Bouchez criticised the mayor for not closing the park, arguing that setting up police roadblocks would have prevented new incidents, like those that occurred a month earlier.

The unauthorised event left dozens injured, resulted in the hospitalisation of several people, including police officers, and led to 132 arrests.

The Brussels Times

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