150 attend funeral in Covid-unsafe conditions

A funeral in Zaventem (Flemish Brabant) is causing great consternation after more than the permitted number of mourners turned up and police failed to intervene.

150 mourners wanted to say their farewells to the deceased though only 50 are permitted under corona restrictions.  Social distancing was not respected and few were masked.  Police did not intervene even though two officers were present.

Ingrid Holemans (liberal) is the Mayor of Zaventem and head of the local police: “The officers were present because they were accompanying a prisoner.  The deceased was his mother.  The officers didn’t feel they were able to intervene, though of course they didn’t approve of what was happening.”

Zaventem police were unable to cope with this unexpected call on their time.  Jean-Pierre Van Thienen is the local police chief: “Crowds gathered suddenly.  Elsewhere our officers had just caught a burglar red handed and were also dealing with a case of domestic violence.  It’s difficult to intervene suddenly with a massive police presence at a funeral. We are understaffed, but will try to be more prepared in future and will take the matter up with the funeral director”.

The funeral director says everything was organised in compliance with the rules.  It’s not the first time there have been problems with funerals at Zaventem.  Last year two Brussels funeral services companies were sanctioned.

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