The mother of Anuna De Wever, the 17-year-old co-founder of Youth for Climate, the student organisation which held its fourth march yesterday, has filed a complaint with police over death threats received by her daughter on Facebook. The threat appeared to target Anuna and her twin sister, the less media-recognised Luka. Roughly translated, the message read “Maybe the twins will get both barrels” referring to the word for a double-barrelled shotgun.
Het Laatste Nieuws tracked down the 20-year-old who posted the message on Facebook. “Maybe I went too far,” he admitted, claiming the post was “black humour”.
Mother Katrien Van der Heyden saw things differently, and announced in a post on the Humo website, “Had to go to the police for the first time yesterday,” she wrote. “My twin daughters have been threatened with the suggestion of a shotgun.”
Interviewed by De Morgen, she said she had expected the excuse of “just a joke”. “This cannot be allowed,” she told the paper. “We can certainly disagree with each other, but we mustn’t start threatening 17-year-old girls who wouldn’t hurt a fly with death. That is so out of proportion.”
Meanwhile yesterday’s march, the fourth in a series of weekly events the students have promised will continue at least until the elections in May, attracted a total of around 30,000 demonstrators spread across the country, with 12,500 in Brussels itself and 15,000 in Liege. The participation of primary school children in a march in Brussels received criticism in some quarters. “The pupils had been telling us they would like to go along with the demonstration, but ran up against a refusal at home. We wanted to give them the chance, and so we’ve come with the whole class.” Unlike with the older students, the young ones were accompanied by school staff all the way along the new route, which now starts at Gare du Nord.