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95 fined as Brussels night drinking ban begins
Police stopped 95 people drinking in public on the first weekend of a new alcohol ban in Brussels' downtown pedestrian zone.
Since 1 February, drinking outdoors is banned between midnight and 6.00 in the morning around Boulevard Anspach, from Place Fontainas to Place de Brouckère.
The ban also applies to nearby streets including the Rue du Midi, Rue des Fripiers and Rue des Halles.
Police stopped 37 people drinking on Friday night, 33 on Saturday and 25 on Sunday, a spokesman for the Brussels-Ixelles police force said.
Alcohol at night is still authorised in bars and restaurants, including on outside terraces, and can still be sold in night shops. The ban will also be waived in the event of any major festive or sporting events authorised or organised by the City of Brussels.
The decision to implement the ban was taken following numerous complaints from local residents about noise pollution, rowdy behaviour, vandalism and poor hygiene.
Anyone violating the ban will have their drink confiscated and could be fined as much as €350. The measure initially applies for six months - until 1 August - when its effectiveness will then be evaluated.