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Flemish locals defy ice skating ban for last of winter fun

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Many people, young and old, put on their ice skating boots in the Flemish province of Limburg this weekend and took to local pools of water, despite the ban which was imposed in the region on 11 February.

The daredevils flocked to the lakes of the spoil tips between the municipalities of Genk and As, where they went about their business largely undisturbed.

However, in the village of Lanklaar, police turned away fifty skaters from the historical Tivoli site, which was frozen over, on Saturday. In response, the policemen put up an extra sign that said skating is prohibited.

In the national park of the High Fens, people also ventured onto the ice, despite the region’s authorities forbidding skating on natural ice, after it was deemed too thin for this activity.

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Yet, there were no calls of people needing to be saved from the ice this weekend, according to Karen De Smedt of the East Limburg Fire Brigade.

“I know it’s not allowed,” one young lady told VRT News. “But when it has frozen so many nights in a row, the ice is usually firm enough. Besides, it will be the only opportunity we have this year. We have already had to skip Christmas markets with skating rinks this year. Before the thaw sets in, I just want to have a little fun.”

Lauren Walker
The Brussels Times