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Riots in Brussels

Atlanta, GA
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Riots in Brussels

Sad information coming out..

http://www.brusselsjournal.com/node/1384

Can any of the locals comment on what's going on first hand?

While I am not travelling to Brussels until next year, I know many on this forum have plans coming up soon.

Brussels, Belgium
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1. Re: Riots in Brussels

Firstly, I don't know why someone who just lives here would know more than a journalist paid to enquire specifically into "what's going on", secondly if you look at previous questions you will see that those living here consistently warn against staying near the Gare du Midi and tourists are unlikely to be in the area where these riots happened anyway, especially at 20.30, thirdly if you aren't coming during Ramadan (and especially before the elections being held here on 8 October 2006) I presume you won't be affected, and fourthly, there can be problems of any sort in any area at any time and they aren't going to affect you if you are in a different area of the city - for example, if you passed through the Gare du Midi changing from train to metro, when you would have been blissfully unaware of anything happening on the surface. I personally have not seen a single sign of riots, although obviously they are in the news, but I was affected by a partial strike on Monday which was a protest against 2 attacks on tram drivers, one by a woman who got her pram/pushchair (stroller?) stuck in the doors.... I would guess that that sort of unpredictable, individual "tram rage" is much more likely to occur during someone's stay than any full-blown riot, and even then, I myself have never actually seen one happening even though I have heard of them and (twice) suffered some consequences.

UK
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2. Re: Riots in Brussels

I think the reason he's asking for some info from locals is because the press can sometimes sensationalise what's going on. The average person on the street might have a different view of whats really going on.

I can't offer any info DanielTasker but I'm going to Brussels tomorrow for the weekend so I'll certainly report back if we experience any problems due to riots.

London, UK
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3. Re: Riots in Brussels

Very true. After the Paris demostrations all the Americans were on the Paris TA forum paranoid about getting caught up in the "riots" because "Faux News" and their collegues in the US media were hyping it up so much. Reality is usually much different to the "desperate-to-get-a-story-regardless-of-accuracy" media reporting.

Atlanta, GA
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4. Re: Riots in Brussels

Thanks for the comments. Yes, I agree that the media can make certain events out to be more "dramatic" than they really are, just to sell papers/advertising or whatnot. I was simply interested on the perspective of the "man on the street" to better understand this incident, and learn how/if it would affect travel.

Tulip - do report back what you find, and thanks for the replies.

Hertfordshire...
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5. Re: Riots in Brussels

We are staying at the Marriott on 6th October leaving 8th October. Hope this is a safe place to stay if there are riots. We are travelling Eurostar arriving at Midi station. Looking forward to a relaxing and taking in the sights break.

Brussels, Belgium
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6. Re: Riots in Brussels

Well I still haven't met anyone who has seen anything themselves, those interested may like to see comments from local expats on www.xpats.com/cgi-bin/interactive/qa.cgi…

There is also a small item in this week's "The Bulletin", Brussels' English-language weekly magazine, which reads: "Several cars were set alight and around 20 vandalised in the Marolles neighbourhood of Brussels on Monday, September 25. The small-scale riots began as news spread of the death of Fayçal Chaaban, 25, the previous night in Forest prison. Chaaban's father and community officers helped calm the neighbourhood and police reported that the disturbances were over at midnight, after making 10 arrests."

I doubt whether anyone staying in the Grand' Place/Bourse area will see anything worse than the odd argument among the drunken louts who sometimes hang out in and around O'Reilly's pub late at night - which is not even on a par with what I used to see regularly outside a couple of pubs in Kilburn, London. Crimes against property are much more common than crimes against persons in Brussels, so do watch your purse/wallet/pockets/bags at all times (and especially in crowds e.g. in the metro, at the Midi market, and around the Manneken Pis) but I really don't think it is worth worrying about being caught up in riots during your stay.

Hertfordshire...
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7. Re: Riots in Brussels

Thanks for your reply Gaminari. I am now looking forward to my weekend away.

NY NY
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8. Re: Riots in Brussels

I just got back yesterday, walked and took the trains, I didn't see any riots, or even hear about any.

Sacramento...
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9. Re: Riots in Brussels

I am sure it is all calmed down by now. I have a good friend who lives in the Marolles area, just behind the Palais de Justice. She had her car windows broken and gasoline spread around the seats, that was a week ago Monday. The US embassy also sent out a warning to stay away from the area. This was all due to a prisoner/police incident. As far as I know it was all over by last Tuesday and was definitely restricted to the Marolles area.

UK
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10. Re: Riots in Brussels

I got back on Monday (2nd) and we didn't see any trouble or hear of any disturbances. We stayed in the Royal Windsor Hotel which is near Grand Place, we walked around the city in the day time but the evenings were all spent near Grand Place so we wouldn't have seen any trouble anyway since it seems that it was happening after sunset near Midi station.