‘Madness’: hundreds of students party on last night before early closure
Friday, 09 October 2020
Credit: Screengrab Twitter/Ilkay Bahceli
Leuven police were forced to intervene on Thursday evening to dispel crowds after hundreds of people gathered in the city centre to take advantage of the last night that bars could stay open past midnight in Belgium.
The police received reports of crowds of people flouting the coronavirus measures on gatherings and social distance, alongside complaints of too much noise and a few skirmishes, police spokesperson Nicolas Del Piero told Het Laatste Nieuws.
Café-owners were astounded by the students’ behaviour. “It is a bit disastrous, all this chaos. You could call it madness,” one café-owner told De Morgen. “It is so unfortunate. We provide bubbles, disinfect everything and put up screens. 95% of customers respect that, and then you have 5% idiots who ruin it.”
Luid zingen en schermutselingen op Leuvense Oude Markt gisterenavond tijdens de voorlopig laatste café-avond tot 1 uur. Van mondmaskers en anderhalve meter is amper nog sprake. #robnieuws#robtvpic.twitter.com/B8hOgSSznA
Translation: “Loud singing and skirmishes on Leuven’s Oude Markt last night during the last café evening until 1:00 AM for the time being. Face masks and 1.5 metres are barely there anymore.”
The footage was met by shock on social media, with many people, including Secretary of State in the new government Sammy Mahdi, urging people to behave, and remember that the country is dealing with a deadly virus.
Gisteren op de oude markt in Leuven gewerkt en het was legit een dierentuin… Echter de social distance werd zeker en vast wel gerespecteerd😅 pic.twitter.com/veqgD3qnH1
According to Luc Sels, rector of the KU Leuven, the vast majority of the school’s students adhere to the rules very well. “However, there is a small minority among our youth, as in the rest of society, who are selfish and do not – or do not want to – understand the message,” he said.