Thousands of young people party for days in the shed of a Flemish entrepreneur in Wallonia

Carwall, a subcontractor of Caterpillar in Namur, filed for bankruptcy two years ago. The company buildings in Sombreffe have been empty ever since. Waiting for the necessary building permits to be issued and the new owner to get started. The new owner is Tom Eeckhout, from Van Thuyne vaults in Wielsbeke. His company is active in Flanders but sees opportunities in Wallonia.

Illegal party

About 4,000 revelers, confirms Sombreffe mayor Etienne Bertrand, took part in an illegal party that lasted until Sunday evening. Then the music stopped.

“The factory is locked, the steel gates are closed and there are 2-ton concrete blocks in front of the entrance. But apparently that is not enough”, Tom Van Eeckhout sighs. He went to the scene on Monday morning to ascertain the situation.

Last Saturday, the last day of 2022, more than four thousand partygoers came to the factory for a rave party, an illegal party that was not requested. So they did not have a permit and if they had applied for it, they would not have received it because it was unsafe.

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The owner doesn’t understand. “Those people just cracked my company. By opening and damaging the fence and gates. That’s not normal, is it? I can hardly blame the police, it is a small force. Support was requested from the federal police, but they already had their hands full on New Year’s Eve and night. Reinforcements have been called from surrounding areas. But the police were pelted with projectiles by the partygoers,” says the owner. He has filed a complaint against unknown persons. And it may not stop there.

Even young people from Lithuania

Maxime was one of the many people present. He had come here especially from Normandy, he tells the Walloon channel RTL. It was therefore not only Belgians who were present. Also British and even young people from Lithuania. “For a few weeks now, the party has been advertised on closed groups on social media,” says Maxime, who left the site on Monday morning as one of the last people present.

The municipality of Sombreffe will now file a complaint against those present who could be identified. “The party was not only illegal, this is also a business park where companies that work with dangerous products are located. This could have ended badly,” Mayor Bertrand realizes.

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He adds that the party took place on a private property and that the police and city council cannot just act if there are no problems.

But lawyer Philippe Koutny, counsel for the owner of the buildings, thinks that is a lame explanation. He and his clients are looking at what further steps they can take. “We will go as far as Europe if necessary, because this is a European problem,” says Eeckhout.

In the meantime, the municipal staff and the organizers have cleared away as much waste as possible. But according to Tom Eeckhout, damage was done to the fences and graffiti was applied everywhere. “But what I find worse is that people can just take over a company to organize an illegal party and no one can stop it. Not the municipality or the police. That is, next week they can just do it again in another warehouse or vacant company. And I want to sue.”

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