At a press conference in the European Parliament yesterday evening foreign journalists openly doubted the statement by Philip Claeys and Koen Dillen, two members of the European Parliament for the Vlaams Belang party (VB), that the Brussels police had told the VB that they would tolerate yesterday’s anti-Islamization demonstration if it was a peaceful “static” protest at Schuman Plaza. Despite this agreement, the police beat up the peaceful demonstrators in front of the European Commission building. “You can tell us whatever you want, but we need proof,” one of the foreign journalists told Claeys and Dillen.
The proof was given yesterday on Flemish television when reporter Goedele Devroy told a colleague [video here, in Dutch] that she was amazed by the brutality of the police against the peaceful demonstrators “who just stood there.” She added: “This is strange because, when I rang the police this morning, they said that they would tolerate the demonstration if the demonstrators would not use violence and if they just remained put and would not try to march.”
It looks like a deliberate trap was set up for the demonstrators, who were gathered at Schuman Plaza. Riot police units from Liege in Wallonia, the French-speaking part of Belgium, maltreated the demonstrators, many of them from Flanders, the Dutch-speaking part of Belgium, in an excessively violent way, picking out the VB leaders for the worst treatment. This picture shows how Frank Vanhecke, the VB party leader and a member of the European Parliament, was held tight by police officers while one of them pinches him in the balls. As they did so they shouted abuse such as “Sale Flamingant” (Dirty Flemish-secessionist).
Vanhecke’s hands were tied behind his back, as our video shootage shows, and he was shoved into a police bus. There the beatings continued. Yesterday evening, after releasing the VB leader, the Brussels authorities announced that they will press charges against Vanhecke for assaulting the driver of the police bus.
Filip Dewinter, the group leader of the VB in the Flemish Regional Parliament, was also beaten up. The police dragged him away as he was talking to journalists, a few yards from the demonstration. Last Monday, Dewinter, a member of the Flemish Parliament, called upon that institution to declare the independence of Flanders from Wallonia. Also beaten up, probably for the same reason, was Luk Van Nieuwenhuysen, another VB politician and a Deputy Speaker of the Flemish Parliament. Mr Van Nieuwenhuysen escaped from the beatings in the police bus by pulling open the emergency exit and fleeing.
The Walloon officers also maltreated Mario Borghezio, an Italian member of the European Parliament. The Italian government has formally complained to the Belgian government about his arrest, protesting against the violation of his parliamentary immunity by the Belgians. Franco Frattini, the (Italian) European Commissioner for Justice, Freedom and Security, is angry, too. He told the Belgian authorities demonstrations should only be banned when they are violent or glorify Nazism.
Yesterday, the Neo Nazis, which the Brussels authorities had said were coming to Brussels to join the anti-Islamization demonstration, were nowhere to be seen. This is hardly surprising. For Neo Nazis the Jews, not the Muslims, are the enemy.