Little tension as Belgium closed bars and restaurants

All bars and restaurants across Belgium were ordered to close at 12 midnight on Friday night.  In Brussels the police say they experienced little agro during the operation and that apart from a few spots of bother there wasn’t too much trouble.

Police spokeswoman Ilse Van de Keere: “We were forced to return to a number of places and there was tension, but we were not forced to arrest anybody.”

“It’s not our job to clamp down hard, but to point out to people the responsibility they have.  In most places the closure passed without incident, but a number of proprietors did not want to close.  We can understand that.  They don’t want to go bust.  We had to return to a number of spots, but apart from a little tension there wasn’t too much bother.”

It was a similar picture up in Antwerp.

“We had to visit quite a few bars” explained police spokesman Wouter Bruyns.  “We realise not everybody has heard the news about the measures.  We didn’t launch a witch hunt.  In most cases proprietors responded to our request.  Elsewhere we had to return repeatedly.”

Several bars staged lock-down parties.

Wouter Bruyns: “It was pretty crowded on the De Keyzerlei.  We deployed in a bid to create greater public awareness.”