‘Not organising anything’: admin of ‘La Boum 2’ Facebook event denies accusations
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‘Not organising anything’: admin of ‘La Boum 2’ Facebook event denies accusations

Credit: Belga

The admin of the Facebook page that announced ‘La Boum 2,’ who was questioned by the police for organising an unauthorised party in Brussels’ Bois de la Cambre this weekend, said that he is “not organising anything at all.”

The police suspect the man, who is the administrator of the ‘L’Abîme’ Facebook page – which announced the event scheduled for 1 May – of setting up a private militia and inciting violence, but that is not true, the man said in a telephone interview with Het Laatste Nieuws after he was questioned and released by the police on Tuesday.

“I explained to them that their accusations were false. I have not formed a private militia and I am not inciting violence,” he told the newspaper, adding that he cannot give details about the interrogation.

Additionally, the man “is not organising anything at all,” he stressed. “We are not selling tickets for a party, or booking artists. All we do is meet up with other people to get together in the park. We will put on the same radio station at the same time and have a good time in the open air.”

According to him, people should be able to choose for themselves whether or not they want to take the risk of attending, as “we have a fundamental right to gather. We must defend that.”

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In a press release on Tuesday afternoon, the Brussels public prosecutor’s office stressed that any person who has an official report for non-compliance with the Covid-19 measures drawn up about them during the event on 1 May “will be prosecuted per the current criminal policy guidelines.”

On Wednesday 28 April, over 8,300 people had already indicated on Facebook that they would attend the “La Boum 2″ event on Saturday, and over 18,200 said that they are ‘interested.”

While no one is obligated to come, the Facebook admin stressed that people are social beings, and that plenty of people would rather risk Covid than be lonely any longer.

“Lack of contact can also be deadly,” he added. “If someone decides that they would rather die of Covid than of loneliness, why shouldn’t that be allowed?”

According to him, people who decide to join on Saturday are not endangering anyone by meeting outside in a park, referring to a number of studies – which were also shared by official health authorities – showing that the risk of infection in the open air is a lot lower.

“During the interrogation, [the police] said that the mayor will hold me personally responsible if there are any injuries, but I do not see myself as an organiser,” he said. “As I said, I am not organising anything and I am not the only one involved. I am just the spokesperson.”

The event is the sequel to the fake festival that was organised as an April Fools’ joke on 1 April, which drew thousands of people to the Bois de la Cambre and ended in riots, over 20 arrests and dozens of people injured.

Additionally, Belgian police contacted Facebook to find out how to stop the spread of the announcement of La Boum 2, but Facebook replied that it would only act on the request of the public prosecutor, according to Brussels Minister-President Rudi Vervoort.

In the meantime, Brussels City mayor Philippe Close said that the park would not be closed this weekend, but that “a preventative approach” would be adopted, with the help of stewarding by police.

Maïthé Chini
The Brussels Times