A 21-year-old man has died after falling from a hotel window in Antwerp while trying to escape police raiding a lockdown party.
The incident took place at about 04.00 at a hotel on the Meistraat in the city centre. Hotel managers had received complaints about noise nuisance, and had already warned the people occupying the room.
Finally neighbours called the police, at which the eight people present in the fourth-floor room tried to hide. The 21-year-old, a resident of the Deurne district of the city, tried to escape from a window but fell to the ground.
Emergency services were called and police at the scene tried to revive the man but nothing could be done.
Victim services were made available to police, hotel staff and other hotel guests who had witnessed the incident.
“I am shocked by the death of a young Antwerp resident last night,” mayor Bart De Wever (N-VA) said in a response. “I want to express my condolences to his family and loved ones. The investigation into this terrible event is ongoing.”
De Wever pointed out the number of incidents involving party-goers trying to escape police since the start of checks on lockdown parties. “Whereas the security forces are acting in our public interest and are there to help us where necessary,” he said.
“Police officers across this country have proven over the past year able to carry out their difficult task professionally and with integrity in exceptional circumstances. But the death of such a young person painfully confronts us with the consequences of long lockdown periods on the mental well-being, especially of young people. I hope that we will conduct the social debate on this subject in all serenity.”
• Meanwhile in Borgerhout, another district in Antwerp, a woman was injured when trying to escape a police raid on a similar illegal party. The woman tried to escape through a window and injured her shoulder. Sixteen people were present at the party, including four children.