There are no official numbers availabe yet, but there were probably several thousands of people attending the illegal 'event'.
Party-goers were chanting the popular "Waar is dat feestje? Hier is dat feestje!" (Where is the party? The party is here!) slogan. Asked whether their behaviour is responsible, a young lady answers "no, but I think that it won't do any harm for just this once."
A young man told the VRT that "we are sick of all those rules. We just want to live again." Things ran out of hand around 5 p.m. Police were at the site, but the crowd was too big to be controlled. When the youngsters refused to go home, the atmosphere got hostile. Party-goers hurled any objects they could find at the police, who deployed the water cannon and charged into the crowd with horses.
Strict corona restrictions still apply in Belgium as we are heading into a third wave. Hospitals can hardly cope with the influx of new corona patients, businesses have to close as a result of the restrictions, and concerts and other events have been cancelled to avoid that too many people would come together.
How did this start?
The April Fools joke was reportedly started by a group of artists who had announced an "abstract festival" on 1 April, in the style of the surrealistic Belgian artist René Magritte (Ceci n'est pas une pipe): "This is not a festival". However, a more thorough investigation is needed to shed more light on the exact cause.
Watch here how police intervened as the crowd refused to return home: