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Students clash with police in Ghent

Police clashed with partying students on the St Peter’s Square in Ghent (East Flanders) last night when law enforcers wanted to clear the square. Dozens of students attacked officers with glasses and beer crates.

Two students were detained.  The burgomaster has promised to reinforce police patrols during the next few days.

It was busy on St Peter’s Square last night.  Initially officers tried to encourage youngsters to mask, but around 7:30PM, when they concluded that corona restrictions were not being observed properly, the decision was taken to clear the square. Most students obeyed, but around a hundred students refused to budge.

Glasses and other projectiles were hurled at officers.  In response police charged at the partying students.  Even after the square was cleared the atmosphere in the area that includes the bar street remained tense.

Mayor Mathias De Clercq (Flemish liberal): “What happened in and around St Peter’s Square is particularly sad.  It makes me angry.  This is a slap in the face to all students and others who stick to the rules.  It’s a small group that is creating havoc for the rest.  It’s intolerable.”

Meanwhile ninety kilometres to the East in Leuven (Flemish Babant), another university town, it was pretty busy too.  Parks were closed and the Ladeuzeplein, a square that had been the scene of Covid-unsafe partying only Tuesday, was again cleared.  Fortunately, here everybody left without incident.

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