Valkenbergpark Breda locked, 200 tickets handed out in the city center
Mayor Paul Depla has locked Park Valkenberg in Breda around six o’clock to prevent it from getting too busy. In this way, the municipality wants to ‘guarantee public order and safety’. The people who were already in the park will not be turned away.
However, the ME has sent everyone away from the Havermarkt, by walking ‘on line’. The police in the center of Breda handed out about 200 tickets to people who did not adhere to the ban on group formation because of the corona crisis.
The police have said that officers have been addressing young people in the city center all afternoon and asking them to leave. The spokesperson: “Most of them do that neatly. But a kind of hard core was left behind, it did not feel like leaving.” For that group, the ME had to be involved in the Havermarkt.
The same riot police also had to come to the aid of a group of officers who were being attacked by young people. It is unclear what exactly happened there and how many officers were involved. “There was some pushing and pulling there, but otherwise we did not have to use force. The peace is now also returning.”
The statement by the police about the fines and actions is striking, because the municipality stated on several occasions that there is nothing wrong in the city center. “The park is preventively closed because we want to prevent young people from going there. But there is no unrest. It is just busy in the city”, says a municipal spokesman.
However, according to bystanders, officers are standing with batons drawn. On the corner of the Haagdijk with the Korte Brugstraat, someone has been arrested for allegedly insulting the police and the police would have closed some streets temporarily.
Restless all day
Around three o’clock large groups of young people moved to the center. There they played a game of cat and mouse with the police for hours on end.
They first stood at the Vismarktstraat, later on the Grote Markt and the Havermarkt. Whenever they were sent away by officers, they would go elsewhere, only to reappear in a different place later. For example, a group of young people who had previously been expelled from the harbor was there again a few hours later.
Beverage sales shut down
Breda catering bosses already closed the collection counters where drinks can be obtained around four in the afternoon. “That was done as a precaution,” says catering foreman Johan de Vos. “The drink is in the man and groups are drinking together. We want to keep it from getting out of hand.”
To prevent young people from going to the supermarket to get their drink, the catering industry has been in contact with Albert Heijn and the COOP. They refused large groups so that they could not buy drinks. However, the annoying youngsters brought a lot of beer themselves.
Park eviction yet
Around a quarter to seven it was quiet again in the city. There was still a group of young people drinking in the Valkenberg Park of about 150 to 200 people. Around half past seven, the police entered the park with about 15 officers to send the people who were there. The riot police are standing by with shields to help them if the youngsters don’t listen.
The eviction of the park went well. The people who sat on the grass enjoying the warm weather went home. The large group of young people has not yet left and is now outside the gates of the park, trying to challenge the riot police. However, it cannot be provoked.