Belgian police officers collectively called in sick in the Brussels district of Molenbeek on Friday, complaining that a security crackdown had left them overworked, a senior officer said.

“They are talking about an overload of work, which I can understand. Things have not been easy neither in 2015 nor in 2016,” Johan De Becker, the head of the Brussels West police area that includes Molenbeek, said.

Molenbeek has been in focus since it emerged that militants who attacked Paris in November 2015 had lived there. Patrols and other measures stepped up even further after two coordinated suicide bombings hit Brussels in March last year.

Officers called in sick on the Thursday evening patrol shift, and again on Friday morning, he added.

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