“Blankenberge has lost its innocence this week. Hopefully we will get them back someday. ” That says Daphné Dumery (N-VA), mayor of Blankenberge, in an interview with Het Laatste Nieuws almost a week after the massive riots in the seaside resort.
OVERVIEW. How do the coastal mayors view the last summit weekend? “Everyone is welcome, but when we are full we will be locked” (+)
It was noticeable: there were far fewer people in Blankenberge in recent days. “The tourists stayed away, probably out of fear,” Dumery said. “Our image is tainted: beachgoers expect us to guarantee 100 percent safety, and rightly so. We are going to carry this with us for a while, I fear. ”
“Everyone here is shocked by the violence,” the mayor continues. “City gangs: you read about that in the newspaper, but it was always far from our bed. If, as a modest municipality of 20,000 inhabitants, you are confronted with this completely unexpectedly, it has a huge impact. Blankenberge has lost its innocence this week. Hopefully we will get them back someday. ”
Despite talks with provincial governor Anne Martens, the federal police and the NMBS – who promised that the trains will run at a maximum occupancy of 80 percent and that a maximum of 6,000 day tourists will come to Blankenberge – Dumery is not comfortable. “I hold my heart for this weekend. I am not so much afraid of gangs from Brussels, but I hear that extreme right groups are planning to to come and clean up the place. We really have to prevent such actions, we have asked for reinforcements. ”