About 100,000 persons participated in festivities marking Belgium’s National Day on July 21, including 25,000 who viewed the fireworks from the Place des Palais, according to final data issued by the police in the Bruxelles-Ixelles area. There were no incidents. The police had first estimated the participation level at 60,000 in a provisional headcount issued at the end of the National Day parade on Thursday.
Participation was less than last year, when 350,000 people had gathered in the centre of Brussels to attend the Te Deum mass, park festival and parade. According to the police, about 50,000 spectators had also viewed the fireworks from the Place des Palais last year.
This year’s lower numbers have been linked to the attacks earlier this year in Brussels and the attack perpetrated in Nice, France, during the July 14 fireworks marking the French National Day.
The police did not report any intervention during this year’s festivities in Belgium. The only incident mentioned was the searching of a suspicious vehicle about 11.00 near the Place de Grand Sablon. One person was found in boot of the vehicle, from which cables were hanging out. However, this was all part of a film that was being shot. The shoot was postponed at the request of the police.
By the end of the fireworks, the Red Cross had assisted 147 persons on site and evacuated 10 persons to hospitals, according to Red Cross spokesperson Nancy Ferroni. There were no severe cases; most of the evacuations stemmed from heatstroke.