‘Preventive approach will be adopted’ in preparation for La Boum 2, says Close
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‘Preventive approach will be adopted’ in preparation for La Boum 2, says Close

Bois de la Cambre Credit: Belga

In light of a possible large-scale gathering as part of the second “La Boum” event, Brussels’ Bois de la Cambre will not be closed this weekend, but a preventive approach will be adopted, with the help of stewarding by police.

On Monday evening, the city’s mayor Philippe Close answered questions from opposition councillors on the past incident on 1 April and the prospect of a second event being organised.

“We will take preventative measures, but if there is no positive response from the crowds, there will be an intervention of the forces of order,” he said.

He added that he is willing to listen to requests from people who want to organise events – the city authorities have so far received 200 requests for events and parties since the beginning of the year – but that now is not the time, according to Close.

“You have to understand that, as leaders, we have to look at what is happening in our hospitals. The situation remains difficult. There was only one bed available in intensive care during the fatal fire in Anderlecht last week,” said Close.

The mayor highlighted that he was concerned about the threats made by some people against police officers and nursing staff, who he said were wrongly criticised for being “responsible for everything that goes wrong.”

One week after the April Fools’ party, which drew thousands of people to Brussels’ Bois de la Cambre, it was announced it could be getting a sequel, and that the organisers –  L’Abîme (which means ‘The Abyss’ in French) –  were seeking approval from the Belgian government.

When posted on Facebook, “La Boum 2,” set for 1 May, attracted over 10,000 reactions on Facebook, with 3,400 indicating they would be present, and 7,500 indicating they were ‘interested.’

Returning to the incidents at the first event, for which there was no request for permission, Close said that the regional authorities had forwarded the names of organisers it has discovered since the first event to the public prosecutor’s office.

A representative of the collective behind “La Boum” will be interviewed on Tuesday at the Brussels-Ixelles police station after reporting himself as a representative of the group and mentioning his identity and mobile phone number to State Security on Wednesday by telephone and to the office of the Minister of the Interior Annelies Verlinden on Thursday by e-mail, according to reports from RTBF.

Lauren Walker
The Brussels Times