Authorities fail to make contact with ‘La Boum 2’ organisers ahead of planned party
Wednesday, 21 April 2021
Credit: Belga/ Paul-Henri Verlooy
Police are having little luck tracking down the organisers of “La Boum 2,” the sequel to the fake April-fools festival announced on social media which turned into a very real crowd in Brussels last month.
“The Brussels police are trying to contact the organisers to discourage them from holding this event on 1 May,” Interior Minister Annelies Verlinden told a House committee on Wednesday.
“I also tried to contact them, but the organisers did not come forward, contenting themselves with an anonymous reply to my letter to the young people. It is impossible to enter into a dialogue with these people as they do not come forward personally.”
Verlinden’s letter called on young people to “hang in there a little longer.”
“Think of something that will make the last few weeks weigh less. Be creative and motivate each other,” she said. “Think of a challenge and share it – and let us know how we can help.”
The anonymous collective L’Abîme, who is behind the illegal party, responded to that by saying, “We have found an occupation for our young people who are experiencing a lack of freedom, parties, love and hugs. We suggest that they help think up and organise La Boum 2 in the Bois de la Cambre.”
The first La Boum was held on 1 April in Brussels’ Bois de la Cambre and had an estimated 1,500 to 2,000 attendees, in violation of the coronavirus measures that forbid large gatherings.
It ended after intervention from riot police, and resulted in over 20 arrests and dozens of people injured. One party-goer was run over by a policeman on horseback, opening an investigation into the police response to the unauthorised gathering and prompting the creation of a petition against police use of horses.
“The final balance sheet shows that [police intervention] was not disproportionate,” said Verlinden, who was questioned by MEPs Julie Chanson (Ecolo), Sophie Rohonyi (DéFI) and Sigrid Goethals (N-VA). “Attempts to de-escalate the situation had failed.”
As they continue to have little success in reaching the organisers of the second party, set to take place in just ten days, Verlinden says police are using social media communication to discourage people from attending.
“An intervention reserve will be ready to intervene in the event of excesses,” she said.