In recent days, hundreds of young people are having spontaneous parties on the beach and along the seafront of the coastal town of Knokke-Heist, according to the local police.
They start gathering in the afternoon, after which a spontaneous party breaks out later in the day. Most of them do not wear face masks, and do not keep their distance. According to the owners of several beach bars, they also destroy parts of their businesses.
According to Steve Desmet, the chief of police in Knokke-Heist, it mainly concerns French-speaking children of people from Brussels or Walloon Brabant who have a second residence at the coast and return every year.
"They have nothing to do because of the measures, and they get together in the same place every night," he told VRT. "It is not okay at all, but intervening too strictly is not smart either."
It is a very difficult balancing act, according to Desmet, who said that the police have clear the beach a few times already, and that they remind the people present of the rules every time.
"Fines are issued as well, but it is like pushing water uphill," he said.
"I know that these scenes look awful and are frustrating for the residents of Knokke-Heist," Desmet said. "Nevertheless, we prefer to keep the young people in our sights and in the open air rather than at clandestine parties."
The police hope that once the Easter holidays are over and the schools restart on Monday, the parties will be over.
"We are trying to make the best assessment to manage this problem. To reconcile all interests and then solve it," he said. "But this is indeed not okay at all, we try to make that message clear."
The Brussels Times