On Saturday, some fifty people in Blankenberge clashed with the police. 20 troublemakers were arrested for disturbing public order, most of them from Brussels and with a migrant background.
There should be a ban on space for such amok-makers, Minister Pieter de Crem said on Tuesday in the Internal Affairs committee of the federal parliament. Convicted rioters could be denied access to the coastline and recreational areas in our country. De Crem wants to achieve this with a notification requirement: for example, during a heat wave, they would be obliged to report to the place where they live.
As a result, they cannot descend to the coast or provincial swimming pools to kick their ass. With the space ban, De Crem is sending out a strict signal. “Those guys are not bosses here and never will be.”
De Crem points out that there was sufficient police capacity on the coast last weekend. In the summer months, 40 federal police inspectors are seconded to the police zones on the coast. That is a tripling compared to other years and is partly intended to maintain the stricter corona measures.
According to the minister, however, insufficient use was made of this higher capacity and the local authorities of Blankenberge lost time. ‘On Saturday, reports came in about problems on the beach at 2 p.m., while the first police intervention took place at 5:30 p.m.
Blankenberge does not agree with De Crem
In Blankenberge they do not agree with Pieter De Crem’s statements. According to the Blankenberg authorities, the cause of the incident on Saturday lies with the young amok makers and too many tourists were transported to the coast by train. ‘Our beach plan works,’ it sounds.
The city refutes that the fault lies in the late intervention of the police. The cause of the incident was the young amok makers. If we had stopped them at the station, they would have fought there. That had little to do with the amount of people on the beach, ‘says Nico Germonprez, emergency plan coordinator for the city of Blankenberge.
The city does criticize the excessive supply of tourists by rail. ‘In our beach plan, a maximum capacity of 10,000 people has been set. On Saturday, the NMBS transported 8,000 people to Blankenberge. In addition to all residents, second-home residents and people with the car, there are simply too many. ‘
In addition, the Minister notes that those authorities did not proactively check the presence of alcoholic drinks. With that he is shifting the black pete to the local authorities. ‘My contacts with the coastal mayors have been very intensive. They wanted customization and we gave them that too. ‘
With his seat ban, De Crem is responding to the question from, among others, the N-VA, who yesterday argued for a ban similar to the stadium ban for hooligans. Yet there was strong criticism from that party. Björn Anseeuw (N-VA), alderman in Ostend, was not satisfied with the fact that De Crem had refused to close the Ostend station. He demands a modified transport plan from the NMBS. “The NMBS sends trains with a capacity utilization of 115 percent to the sea,” said Anseeuw.
The closure of the stations would have been disproportionate and would have punished the ordinary day tourist.
De Crem withdrew his hands from a decision about new measures by the NMBS. According to him, they must come from Federal Minister of Mobility François Bellot (MR). Nevertheless, De Crem decided on Sunday to keep the stations on the coast open. “The closure of the stations would have been disproportionate and would have punished the ordinary day tourist,” De Crem replied. Bellot will meet at 3 pm with the West Flemish governor and the coastal mayors about appropriate measures.