Molenbeek unveils anti-riot plan for 'peaceful' New Year's Eve

Molenbeek unveils anti-riot plan for 'peaceful' New Year's Eve
Molenbeek police will "change their strategy" in order to avoid riots which plunged the municipality into chaos during last year's New Year's Eve. Credit: © Belga

A large security apparatus will be rolled out in Molenbeek as it braces for New Year's Eve, following the tumultuous riots which last year swept the Brussels municipality into chaos.

The "extraordinary" security plan will see several teams of law enforcement and civil security stand ready for action at the Brussels West police station.

"Molenbeek deserves a peaceful New Year's Eve, " Mayor Catherine Moureaux told RTBF as she unveiled the details of the security plan. "Molenbeek residents have the right to security and that is non-negotiable, the residents demand it," she added.

Her comments come after last year's end-of-year festivities broke into a night of riots, with property vandalised, stores looted, waste bags and containers set ablaze and police and firefighter vehicles pelted by rocks and other projectiles.

Molenbeek's anti-riot plan will be in place on both 31 December and 1 January and will see significant means put in place to ensure a prompt response by authorities, with a special emergency intervention team set up to beef up police action.

"There will be more of us, I cannot say anything further," Moreau told RTBF, nevertheless noting that police unit's approach would be "different in terms of strategy and tactic," and that more police would be present around metro stations in the area.

A preventative team will ensure flammable objects, such as waste, are not left on the streets ahead of the festivities, and a sales ban on fireworks and firecrackers will be implemented, with authorities warning about online purchases.

Gabriela Galindo

The Brussels Times

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