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10,000 party at illegal rave on military property

09:06 03/05/2023

An illegal three-day rave on a military domain in Brustem in Flanders that drew at least 10,000 and possibly as many as 15,000 people has finally come to an end.

Neighbours who have been complaining about the noise nuisance during the weekend of its occurrence are relieved that the gathering is over, RTL reports.

Brustem, which is located in Sint-Truiden, saw a number of drug and alcohol offences at a multi-day rave that featured professional-grade music installations in 11 hangars located at the military site.

“Police were present the whole time,” said Jos Lantmeeters (N-VA), governor of the province of Limburg. “Some of them stayed overnight in their cars for obvious security reasons.”

Rather than attempting to evacuate so many people, police focused on securing the perimeter and carrying out various checks on access roads.

At least 50 police vehicles were present, along with an estimated 40 vehicles forming a perimeter surrounding the military site.

Officers carried out alcohol and drug checks on the departing vehicles of partygoers and police remained on site on Monday to ensure the last of the partygoers left safely.

At least nine arrests were made and 27 driving licences were revoked. Reports were drawn up for drug offences, and generators and sound equipment were seized by authorities.

“It is now time to clean up the site and assess the damage,” said Lantmeeters, adding that “this will not go unpunished”.

Several consultation meetings were held over the weekend to assess the situation and, on Sunday morning, authorities decided to move to the provincial crisis management phase.

Federal police and the defence forces joined the local police in monitoring the situation, which was described at the time it was taking place as “calm but toxic, with a lot of alcohol and drug consumption”.

“There were at least 10,000 people present,” the governor said. “Most of them were drinking heavily and using drugs. It was a dangerous situation.”

Nevertheless, the governor agreed with the police strategy of not disrupting the event: “We must be careful not to start a war on the ground. This is an illegal event organised by professionals who know how to deal with the police if they enter the premises.

"Leaflets were distributed to the partygoers explaining how they should react if the police approached them. All this was put in place within two hours. So everything points to the fact that this is not a scout party.”

As the party died down on Sunday, at least 10 medical interventions had taken place and six people were transported to the hospital after consuming drugs.

The case of the illegal rave is now in the hands of the prosecutor's office, which has opened an investigation.

Photo: Jill Delsaux/Belga

Written by Helen Lyons