Brussels: Bermuda shorts ban in pool

The Brussels suburb Huizingen (Beersel) has decided to ban Bermuda shorts in the local open-air swimming pool, in the hope of keeping away aggressive and trouble causing immigrant youth. Just as in many other recreation areas, Beersel has been dealing for a long time with problems caused by immigration youth who come from the capital to the country pool.

The municipality has decided last week to allow only visitors with tight swimming trunks. Though the shorts and Bermuda shorts ban has been passed officially for hygienic reasons, sport alderman Luckfasseel admits that the new regulation is especially meant to keep out immigrant trouble makers. "Immigrant youth do feel too naked in swimming trunks."

Mayor Casear: "It is for us very frustrating that immigrant youth from Brussels come here to misbehave. Besides disorderliness there's also much further violence and even rape attempts. Therefore we decided to take this drastic measure.

Residents have been complaining for years of the noise and trouble during the summer months, since the Brussels youth often cause destruction on their journey from the station to the Huizingen. A month ago the police had to call in a hundred agents since groups of immigrant youth stopped cars. They forced drivers to bring them into Huizingen.

Last year bus line #50 was extended bringing a solution to the problem, but this year MIVB raised the price for the extension.

In the meantime an agreement had been reached, and the bus will continue for 91 days this year, compared to 71 last year. The financial costs will be divided by MIVB, Beersel municipality, Flemish-Brabant province, and the Brussels Region.

Besides the problems in the provincial domain, there are also been problems in the pool itself. In the past lifeguards often had to intervene since the youth troubled other kids, families and female visitors.

Beersel and Flemish Brabant had made a whole list of regulations in order to curb the troubles. Besides banning swimming shorts the fees had also been adapted. Residents of Beersel may enter for free, as compensation for the trouble that the pool is causing. The province doubled the fee for non Flemish Brabant residents. A system of colored hand and ankle bands will also enable extra control.

The Center for Equal Opportunity and Opposition to Racism (CGKR) is investigating the ban. "This is apparently neutral regulation that might possibly imply an indirect form of racism," says Jozef De Witte of the CGKR. "We will speak with those involved to hear what is precisely the reason for the ban and what is the possible solution."

Sources: Telegraaf (Dutch), VRT Nieuws (Dutch)

See also: Beveren: Tighter rules at swimming pool

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