In a second raid on the Sint-Pietersplein square in Ghent’s student neighbourhood in two nights, police fined 27 students for violating Belgium’s ban on gatherings on Thursday evening.
Several students were once again reported partying on the square, however unlike last time, the police were able to surround the smaller group and handed out fines to everyone.
“We noticed another gathering around 6:00 PM last night of 27 people, all of whom were identified. They were all asked to pay an amicable settlement of €250 for violating the rules,” spokesperson for the Ghent Police, Matto Langeraert, told The Brussels Times.
The police understand it is a difficult time and heavily regret having to hand out fines, Langeraert said, but they have a duty to follow up on these rules, and gatherings in groups of more than four people are still prohibited under the current measures imposed by the government.
On Wednesday evening, around 100 students fled from the police after dancing and drinking on the square, however, as the police arrived, the students started running away in all directions.
Police don’t know if this incident involved the same students as Wednesday night, as they didn’t manage to stop anyone during the previous raid.
Following the first incident, Rik Van de Walle, Rector of UGhent, pleaded with students to stay off the streets.
“There is improvement in sight – our key corona indicators (hospitalisations, reproduction rate of the virus) are moving in the right direction, because we have been doing well the past few weeks. Don’t let go now – that’s really not smart. Come on, guys,” he said.
The Brussels Times