CORONAVIRUS – Several people were arrested on Saturday, August 8, during a riot caused by an evacuation order from a beach in the resort of Blankenberge, on the Belgian coast.
“That can’t go on. We’re doing everything we can to keep our spa safe, and now that …” protested the resort’s mayor, Daphné Dumery.
The incidents were triggered by a group of young people who were asked to respect the security measures imposed against the spread of Covid-19, according to testimonies collected by radio and television RTBF.
According to diary Het Laatste Nieuws, a group of people rebelled against the police after being ordered to leave the beach.
A violent fight broke out involving several dozen people and the local police were forced to call in reinforcements to control the situation. In images filmed by witnesses and disseminated on social networks, we can see umbrellas thrown by young people against the police on the beach.
Several cities prohibit daytime tourism
As a result of these incidents, several Flemish towns and seaside resorts on the Belgian coast announced this Sunday, August 9, the ban on “daytime tourists” during the heat wave. The Knokke-Heist and Blankenberge municipalities made this decision to “ensure public safety,” their councilors said.
Furthermore, as regards the people detained in Blankenberge, they were banned from staying in the city and daytime tourism was banned. “We need a break,” Daphne Dumery explained. “Anyone who comes to Blankenberge must have a valid reason for going there. With this measure we are trying to regain calm ”, he stressed.
Knokke Township issued a similar decree after “dozens of incidents, both day and night,” a statement said. Therefore, the city council “felt compelled to take drastic measures. To guarantee public safety, daytime tourists will no longer be able to go ”to the spa.
Road and train checks
The controls will be in place from Sunday at the entrances to the town and newcomers must have “proof” that justifies their arrival: living in the town, staying in a rental or hotel, working there. “All the vehicles will be checked. Anyone without a valid reason to be in Knokke will have to turn around immediately, ”elected officials warned.
The SNCB informed the passengers of the trains bound for the Belgian coast of the measures decided by the Blankenberge and Knokke authorities to “check if their destination is authorized”.
The city of Ostend has joined forces with the two resorts to ask SNCB to no longer provide additional trains to the coast. “On Saturday, the trains reached the coast, 115% full. This is not responsible, ”protested the governor of the province in a statement. “The police will strictly monitor all the coastal cities to make sure they follow all the guidelines. Violators will be severely punished ”, he warned.
Belgians rushed to shore on Saturday in search of coolness as temperatures topped 35 ° C.
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