Flemish socialist leader Rousseau gets extra police protection after far-right threats

Flemish socialist leader Rousseau gets extra police protection after far-right threats
Vooruit's chairman Conner Rousseau pictured during a party congress of French-speaking socialist party PS, Sunday 25 September 2022 in Brussels. Credit: Belga / Hatim Kaghat

For some time now, the home of the leader of the Flemish social-democratic Vooruit party, Conner Rousseau, in the municipality of Sint-Niklaas in East Flanders province has been under extra police protection following a threatening letter from the far-right.

The letter was sent to a newspaper about two weeks ago. The Sint-Niklaas local police immediately took the threat seriously and now send daily patrols past Rousseau's home.

"I sometimes take the train or the bus, and I am advised not to," Rousseau told Het Nieuwsblad. "But I just keep doing my thing. After all, there are some crazies out there that nothing or nobody can protect you from. As a politician, I stand up for a number of issues and I want to change this country. That is always accompanied by jealousy and hatred, but I still have many more fans than haters for now."

At Vooruit's New Year's reception on Sunday 22 January – where some 2,500 people are expected to attend – police vigilance will be increased as well. Who was behind the letter is still not clear, but it is said to have come from the far-right.

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Previously, Rousseau already received some threats: in October 2020, a letter containing white powder was sent to Rousseau's former address in Sint-Niklaas. He himself no longer lived there, but the current occupant opened the letter at the time. According to her, it was not the first time she received threatening mail addressed to Rousseau.

"Part of the job, sure," he responded at the time. Afterwards, it turned out that the letter did not contain any dangerous substances.

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