As end-of-year celebrations draw ever closer and plans are made for parties and gatherings, the Brussels government has pre-emptively banned people from using fireworks in the region.
At the request of various local police zones, the use of fireworks by individuals in public spaces in the Brussels-Capital Region will be prohibited from 23 December to 9 January 2023, the region's Minister-President Rudi Vervoort announced on Friday.
"The end-of-year celebrations attract many people to the city. The festivities must take place safely, both for the citizens and our traders and for the forces of law and order," a statement from Vervoort read.
The chiefs of the local police called for the measure to ensure the safety of police forces and asked the government to provide a regional measure for this purpose. As part of the plan, the possession and transport of recreational fireworks, as well as sirens and sound guns, by private individuals will be banned, specifically in public spaces.
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"The ban on the possession and transportation of fireworks in public places is being introduced to prevent police from becoming victims of pyrotechnic abuse," Vervoort's statement added.
Flemish Animal Welfare Minister Ben Weyts asked local councils to impose a ban on setting off fireworks as it has harmful consequences for animals. But a recent survey among the region's municipalities found that one in three cities and towns will still allow people to bring in the New Year with a literal bang.
Oscare, an aftercare and research centre for burns and scars, highlighted that a ban by itself won't be very effective and urged for more concrete steps to impose such a ban.