Acting Governor holds crisis talks after violence on West Flemish beach

The Acting Governor of West Flanders Anne Martens is holding crisis talks to discuss whether extra measures should be taken to prevent incidents occurring at our costal resorts. Those at the meetings will also look at ways of controlling the flow of people to the resorts and beaches of West Flanders and ensures that they are not overrun when the weather is fine or hot. 

The meeting follows an incident on Blankenberge beach on Saturday afternoon during which several dozen youths turned on police. Parasols and beach furniture were hurled at officers (see video)

The Mayors of Blankenberge and Knokke-Heist have taken measures including roadblocks (see photo above) to deter day-trippers. Although trains are still running to the coast, the Belgian rail company NMBS has sent a tweet asking its customers not to go there.

The closure of stations at coastal resorts between 9am and 4pm as the municipal authorities in Blankenberge have already done is one idea that will be discussed.

Governor Martens told journalists that "I want trouble-makers to be severely dealt with. These are people that have no intention of abiding by the measures and refuse to wear face masks.”

Ms Martens points the figure both at the Belgian rail company NMBS, but also at politicians. "We have seen that the promised 70% to 80% capacity being filled on trains isn’t being guaranteed. There are trains that arrive that are between 100% and 115% full. This can’t be the intention. It simply isn’t safe. People at all levels need to take responsibility, politicians too. I can’t place obligations on NMBS. A higher authority will have to do so”, the Acting Governor concluded.

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