Nearly a hundred people fined in first weekend of alcohol ban in downtown Brussels
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    Nearly a hundred people fined in first weekend of alcohol ban in downtown Brussels

    Place de la Bourse at night, in the Brussels pedestrian zone, before the renovation works. Credit: Wikimedia Commons

    The first weekend of an alcohol ban in Brussels’ downtown pedestrian zone saw police issue nearly a hundred fines to offenders.

    A ban on public drinking went into force on Saturday 1 February, following numerous nuisance complaints and reports of a spike in theft and violent crimes.

    On Monday, a spokesperson for the Brussels-Ixelles police zone said officers had issued a total of 95 fines, with a majority (37) issued on the night of Friday to Saturday.

    The number of offenders identified by police on the following night was of 33, while the number of fines dropped to 25 on the night of Sunday to Monday.

    The prohibition on alcohol applies for a test period of six months starting from February, after which authorities will assess whether to extend it or make it permanent.

    Ahead of ban’s implementation, information signposts were put up in the perimeter of the pedestrian zone and authorities said extra police patrols would be oversee enforcement.

    Public drinking is banned in Boulevard Anspach and Place de la Bourse, as well as in surrounding squares and streets such as Place Fontanais, Place De Brouckère.

    The ban applies from midnight until 6:00 AM and includes all alcoholised beverages, with offenders risking having their drinks seized as well as a fine of up to €350.

    Gabriela Galindo
    The Brussels Times