The “La Boum Dance Festival” in Brussels, Belgium, was announced on social media as “April Fool’s joke” and will be held without a mask and without distance.
Police said, “This is an April Fool’s joke, not real. Don’t come!” Despite his warning, more than 5,000 people gathered in Bois de la Cambre.
Clashes broke out between security forces and participants who responded to police warnings to “disperse” with glass and stones. Rapid Reaction Forces, in violation of coronavirus measures, intervened in the crowd with pressurized water and pepper spray.
A group of Belgian social media users joked on Facebook that an event called “La Boum” will be held on April 1 in a park in the center of Brussels with the participation of more than 100 DJs.
The announcement that coronavirus measures will not be applied at the banquet stressed that participants do not need to wear masks and follow the rules of social distance.
About 70 thousand Facebook users said that everything related to the Easter holiday, which will be celebrated over the weekend, will be free.
More than 5,000 people gathered
For several days, the Brussels Prosecutor’s Office and the police have been calling it an “April Fool’s joke” and urging people not to come to Bois de la Cambre in vain. Police began moving around the park in the morning to prevent participation.
However, despite all the measures, more than 5,000 people came to the park on Thursday afternoon. The group, made up mainly of young people, began to have fun dancing to the music of the speakers.
Participants threw fireworks, bottles and other items at security forces in response to police warnings of “dispersal” with the slogans “Police, police, we will make you sad,” “Where is that side?” A police officer was injured by fireworks that hit his head.
Rapid forces used water cannons and tear gas to disperse the crowd. Despite the intervention, police reinforcements were sent to the area as the crowd did not disperse. Police helicopters and drones have been deployed in the park.
Many people came to the park to protest against the coronavirus measures. Many participants claimed that the measures were exaggerated and implemented at the required level.
The prosecutor’s office launched an investigation
The Brussels Prosecutor’s Office has launched an investigation against social media users who advertised the festival as a joke.
“Our goal was to make people laugh. We did not invite anyone to come to the park,” social media users, who identified themselves as employees of the event sector, told the Belgian press.
“We made 70,000 people laugh and dream again on social media. We think it’s a success. We didn’t do anything wrong. It’s just an April Fool’s joke,” said event workers, who said their job was to make people happy.
Pointing to the importance of less contact, masks and social distance during the epidemic, Brussels police said coronavirus measures had been disrupted due to a crowd of more than 5,000 people and that they needed to intervene.