In Sint-Truiden in Belgium, just across the border from Maastricht, the illegal party that has been going on since Friday is still going on. Thousands of revelers have been keeping the neighborhood awake for two nights now and the authorities and the ravers would like to keep going until tomorrow night. In the meantime – many complaints from local residents later – local agents are receiving support from the federal police and Defense, but an evacuation does not seem imminent.
Initially, the illegal party attracted 5,000 to 6,000 visitors, but according to the governor of Limburg, that number has now doubled. Governor Lantmeeters speaks of “the most difficult crisis to manage in Limburg in years”. The emergency services are said to have been called several times because of serious alcohol and drug abuse by festival-goers.
Although local residents complained for two days about the loud music and the coming and going cars, the police’s priority is to monitor and secure the area, Flemish broadcaster VRT reports. However, several fines have already been handed out for drug possession. Mayor Kempeneers of Sint-Truiden says he understands that local residents feel unsafe and that they are frustrated that there is still no action being taken.
“Based on the available people and resources, it is currently not possible to safely evacuate the vast area with such a large number of people present, often under the influence of narcotics,” the mayor told VRT. “There are precedents elsewhere where the police acted. Here the atmosphere quickly changed among those present, with a risk to law enforcement, local residents and vandalism as a result.”
Police must go after organization
Minister Verlinden of the Interior says he is in contact with the mayor and governor of Limburg. The latter is now responsible for the police operation.
Although stopping the party is therefore not an option, the minister has asked the police and judiciary to go after the organizers. “I have confidence in the investigation that will be conducted to identify the leaders of this rave party,” she wrote on Twitter.
According to Belgian media, the illegal party is very similar to a festival. There are eleven stages where music is played on the military site in the Sint-Truiden district of Brustem. It is not clear how the organization of the party managed to get so much equipment and people to the scene without a light coming on at the police.
“Loud Beat Music”
“The partygoers had prepared themselves very well. Apparently they had been preparing for weeks to have that party take place there and everyone was also quite aware of how to get there,” VRT reporter Jeroen Reygaert told NPO Radio 1 “It is a military domain, but a very old military domain: a former military airport that has not been used for years, so not everything is still as well guarded.”
Reygaert reported on the party yesterday and noticed that a lot of noise is being made. “It’s really loud. It also comes from different angles, because it’s not one stage. It’s really a big smoke of music and you can hear that very well in a nearby village where they have been screaming continuously since Friday evening under the loud beat music should be alive.”