Students flee police raid on 100 person party in Ghent
Thursday, 18 February 2021
Credit: Paul Hermans / CC BY-SA 3.0
Around 100 students fled from the police in Ghent after gathering on the Sint-Pietersplein in the city’s student neighbourhood on Wednesday evening, violating Belgium’s current coronavirus fighting measures.
It is unclear whether it was an organised party, however there was music playing and people were dancing upon the arrival of the police, who said the large number of people present made them think it wasn’t spontaneous.
“We first received a report about this incident around 6:15 PM and arrived at the square maybe ten minutes later,” spokesperson for the Ghent Police, Matto Langeraert, told The Brussels Times.
“As we arrived, many of the students started running away immediately in all directions, so it is hard to say exactly how many people were at the scene. At first, we thought there were around 60, but it later appeared to be around 100,” he added.
Despite the relatively high number of attendees, police say they were not able to make any arrests.
Video footage has been released showing the students scattering as the police arrived on the square.
A maximum of four people can gather outdoors under the current measures imposed by the government to battle the coronavirus pandemic.
“This is not okay. It is difficult for everyone, including the students, but everyone has been making great efforts for a long time,” Mayor of Ghent, Mathias De Clerq, told Het Laatste Nieuws, adding that he regrets the incident.
“Those efforts are paying off, and we mustn’t throw that away, it wouldn’t serve anyone,” he said.