20 cars torched by vandals in Brussels

Although New Year’s Eve passed more peacefully than has been the case in previous years around 20 cars were set alight by vandals at a number of locations across Brussels on Thursday night. For the first time on New Year’s Eve, Brussels 6 local police services worked together under a single command structure that was coordinated by the capital’s largest local police service, Brussels-Capital-Elsene. Police attended a total of 528 incidents and 209 people were detained. Many of the calls to police were about fireworks. Fireworks were banned through the Brussels-Capital Region. However, the ban was ignored by a significant number of people a fireworks could be heard and seen in the night skies both in the hours before and the hours after the start of the new year. 

There were 55 reports of street furniture such as benches and bicycle racks being set on fire. The fire brigade was called out 10 times, including to three house fires. The Brussels public transport company MIVB reports that three buses, two and two tram shelters were damaged during Thursday night. Of the 209 people detained by police 25 were arrested on suspicion of having committed a crime.

Early on Thursday evening there was already trouble in the municipalities of Anderlecht and Vorst. In Vorst 4 vehicles were set alight, while in Anderlecht 3 cars were torched. Elsewhere, police in Schaarbeek caught a group of youths that had petrol bombs with them on the Daillyplein. Elsewhere in Schaarbeek a bicycle rack was torched by vandals.

By midnight a total of 11 cars had been torched in the Brussels South (Anderlecht/Sint-Gillis/Vorst) policing area. Two cars and two scooters were set alight in the Brussels North (Sint-Joost, Evere, Schaarbeek) police area, three cars were torched in the Marlow (Ukkel/Oudergem/Watermaal-Bosvoorde) policing area, while two vehicles were set alight in the Brussels West policing area that is made up of Sint-Jans-Molenbeek, Sint-Agatha-Berchem, Ganshoren, Koekelberg and Jette.

Fireworks were banned throughout the Brussels. However, some failed to respect the ban and police were called out 59 times to deal with fireworks. In the Brussels West policing area officers detained 9 people and seized 130 fireworks. 

84 people were fined for breaching the curfew and 55 crime reports were filed for breaches of the ban on gatherings. A total of 6 parties were brought to an end by police. 



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