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    180 arrests in Brussels during New Year’s Eve

    Brussels police made 181 arrests between Tuesday night and Wednesday morning, according to a provisional count issued by Brussels-Ixelles Police Spokesman Olivier Slosse.

    Slosse, who coordinates information for the capital region’s six police zones, also reported that 11 cars and a scooter were set on fire, while one man sustained knife wounds at the Beekkant station and was fighting for his life.

    The police spokesman noted, however, that the coordination system that was put in place worked well.

    “The fire service was able to work in complete safety,” he said. “The figures are impressive, but the police intervened quickly in very different locations. The problems did not have time to escalate in any given place. We have the impression that we succeeded in preventing the situation from degenerating as much as it did last year.”

    Of the 181 arrests, 154 were administrative and 27 judicial, according to the police spokesman.

    An administrative arrest can be transformed into a judicial arrest if conclusive evidence is added to the file.

    In the Midi zone, there were 54 administrative arrests and four judicial ones, while four vehicles and one scooter were burnt. Brussels-West had a total of 47 administrative arrests and one judicial arrest, plus three torched vehicles.

    Brussels-Ixelles chalked up 45 administrative arrests and seven judicial ones along with two vehicles destroyed by fire. There were eight administrative arrests and four judicial ones in Brussels-North, as well as two burnt vehicles. Only eight judicial arrests were recorded in Montgomery zone and three in Marlow.

    Two police officers were slightly wounded in the Midi zone during the evening but were able to return to work after being treated. Another policeman had a minor work-related accident: he was slightly bitten by a police dog.

    In addition to the man stabbed at Beekkant station, STIB reported a number of incidents, including the stoning of a tram, all of whose windows were broken. That incident took place at about 00.22 a.m. on Wednesday at the Ypres stop on Rue de la Forêt d’Houthulst.

    Two subway trains were tagged at Erasme station, a bus shelter was vandalised at Saint-Pierre Square in Uccle and a police car found itself on the tramline at Conseil Square for reasons that were not immediately clear.

    The fire service had to put out 75 burning garbage cans and nine apartment fires. It reported 16 damaged cars, some of which were close to vehicles that had been torched. A balcony collapsed on Avenue Sleeckx at around 2.00 a.m. on Wednesday while people were on it. Five were slightly injured.

    No fewer than 165 medical emergencies were attended to: 50 in homes and 115 on the road. Fireworks accidents accounted for 23 interventions and 10 evacuations by ambulance.

    Another 60 interventions, including five ambulance evacuations, were conducted at the Soiree des Palais 10 and 12 at the Heysel.

    The final incident report was scheduled to be released later in the day, with each police zone disclosing the interventions conducted in its area.

    Oscar Schneider
    The Brussels Times