A New Year without fireworks or festivities for Brussels. Wednesday evening, the mayor of the Belgian capital has announced the cancellation of TV events planned in the city center. To justify this decision, Yvan Mayeur invoked risk of attacks. “We are forced to cancel given the risk analysis made by the crisis center,” he said live on RTBF public broadcaster.
“It was a decision I measure good, delicate, difficult to take to the mayor,” observed Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel, also invited to the RTBF, who called the decision “just”. This is not the first time that New Year’s fireworks in Brussels was canceled. This had already happened in 2007, also in connection with a terrorist threat. Last year, approximately 100,000 people who attended the transition to the new year on the Place de Brouckere in central Brussels.
Two people arrested Tuesday for Brussels
“It is better not to take the risk,” said Yvan Mayeur, while the situation does not allow to “ensure that we have controlled everyone who comes to the event” . Since late November, Belgium including Brussels, home to the European institutions and NATO, the “terror alert level 3″ is one notch below the maximum level, which corresponds to a “possible and credible threat “. Following the attacks of 13 November in Paris, the Belgian capital even lived for almost six days at 4.
Several investigations are currently underway on issues related to terrorism, including that related to attacks from Paris. In this case, nine people have been charged and detained in Belgium. A search related to the case has yet occurred Wednesday in Sint-Jans-Molenbeek, Brussels commune where originates a leading fugitive suspects, Salah Abdeslam, and which served as home port several members of jihadist cells. According to RTBF, at least one person was arrested during the police operation.
On Tuesday, the federal prosecutor announced the arrest of two people suspected of planning attacks in the capital for celebrations end of the year. Citing threats “serious”, the prosecutor said that “several emblematic places of Brussels” were targeted. “Investigations are still ongoing, the Brussels prosecutor, the federal prosecutor, still working on that threat,” said Yvan Mayeur still warranted.