The Flemish parliament has been evacuated and a budget hearing suspended after reports that a bomb threat was received during the session.
Interim president of the parliament, Liesbeth Homans, abruptly interrupted the hearing at around 2:30 PM, evoking a bomb scare, according to live reports by De Morgen.
The parliament, located near Parc de Bruxelles, was evacuated after the alert, according to the outlet.
“I really did not want to take the risk that something serious would really happen,” Homans said, according to HLN.
In videos taken moments after the evacuation, Minister-President of Flanders Jan Jambon can be seen standing outside the parliament alongside dozens of MPs and other attendants to the hearing.
— Nathalie De Bisschop (@nathaliedb) October 8, 2019
Reports by broadcaster VRT say that the threat was made through a telephone call in English, with a parliamentary clerk alerting Homans.
Multiple reports on Flemish media say the phone call could be linked to an event in celebration of the 40th anniversary of a Kurdish institute, which was supposed to take place in the building this afternoon but has since been cancelled.
The Kurdish Institute in Brussels did not immediately reply to a request for comment.
Police cleared the building shortly before 3:00 PM, according to a tweet in the official account of the Flemish parliament.
Als gevolg van een bommelding zijn de gebouwen van het @vlaparl ontruimd. Alle activiteiten voor vandaag zijn opgeschort tot nader te bepalen datum.
— Vlaams Parlement (@vlaparl) October 8, 2019
The parliament building will remain closed for the remainder of the day and will reopen at a date which is “yet to be determined.”
The Brussels Times
This story has been updated to include the most recent developments.