"Normal" Places We Go

Brussels On Lockdown

Given that Salah Abdeslam, the final fugitive from the recent attacks in Paris, is hiding out somewhere in Brussels and undisclosed, but “precise” intelligence suggests extremely imminent Paris-style terrorist attacks, Brussels is presently locked down…

Shops are closed. Soldiers and paramilitary police are patrolling the streets. Public transportation is shut down. People are being told to stay indoors. All public events have been cancelled.

Although we (The Velvet Rocket staff) have been in Belgium for several days now, it just so happens that we arrived in Brussels this afternoon… And so, in a sign of what I believe is a healthy relationship, even if I don’t go to my beloved war zones, they still seem to come to me.

As such, I thought my dear readers might enjoy a scene report from Brussels… These pictures were taken with my phone as I walked through the neighborhood where we are staying in the city center.

*****

Armored personnel carriers are severely restricting movement in the center and essentially no one is being allowed in:

armored-personnel-carrier-brussels

Roadblocks have been set up in a ring around the center – no civilian vehicles can pass. It’s Saturday night and this street, lined with bars and clubs, is usually crammed with people:

roadblocks-brussels

Only military and police traffic is on the streets:

military-truck-brussels

A closed Metro station in Brussels… You can see a wall of police in the background sealing off the center of the city:

closed-metro-brussels

Police are literally set up on every corner and soldiers are patrolling up and down the streets:

soldiers-patrolling-streets-brussels

brussels-terrorist-alert

Perhaps needless to say, I am enjoying this… While everyone else is cowering at home, I have the run of the city. As someone that detests crowds, how many other scenarios would allow me to be able to be the only civilian in the Grand Place, a UNESCO site and perhaps the most famous and recognizable site in Brussels?

grand-place-terror-alert-brussels

This picture, courtesy of Vase Petrovski, shows you what the Grand Place normally looks like at night:

grand place Brussels

I prefer to just have the soldiers and police for company:

police-in-front-of-grand-place-for-alert

 

It’s an interesting time to be in Brussels.

 

 

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3 thoughts on “Brussels On Lockdown

  1. It just hit me the other day, that the battle of the bulge, the last attempt by the nazis to “breakout” through the allied front lines occurred near the border with Luxembourg in the Ardennes there. Does the velvetrocket have the time and resources to investigate this area and do an article (if you’re still in Belgium, that is) ? Surely they must have memorials and museums there you could visit ? Would be interesting.

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