In Belgium, early on Sunday morning, when people were preparing to go through the traditional carnival procession through the streets of the city, the car crashed directly into the crowd.
The tragic incident occurred in the town of Strepi-Braken in the south of the country, located 50 km from Brussels. The car at high speed crashed into dozens of people who were preparing to take part in the parade.
At least six people were killed. About 40 more, according to the mayor of the town, Jacques Gobert, were injured, the condition of several people is assessed as serious:
“About 150-200 people followed the parade, and the car drove up from behind and drove into the crowd. Her movement continued for another 100 m (328 ft). This should be considered a national catastrophe.”
Eyewitnesses described horrific scenes as the car crashed into the crowd. The exact circumstances of the attack are being investigated, but the police have already stated that they do not consider the incident as a terrorist attack. Christina Yanoko, the spokeswoman for the police department said.
“This is an accident, tragic. The car crashed into the group and tried to continue moving, but it was quickly stopped by the police. The driver and other people in the car were detained. They have not yet been identified.”
The police denied reports in some Belgian media that the crash, which happened around 05:00 local time, was due to police chasing at high speed. Prime Minister Alexander De Croo says:
“The public event dedicated to the celebration hurt to the very heart.”
Belgian Interior Minister Annelice Verlinden tweeted:
“Deepest condolences to the families and friends of those killed and injured in this morning’s incident. What should have been a great celebration turned into a tragedy.”
During Lent, traditional street carnivals take place in Belgian towns and villages. The event in Strepi-Braquenyi, like many others, is a parade with participants dressed in comical figures.