Rising opposition to coronavirus health measures sparks fears of extremism

Rising opposition to coronavirus health measures sparks fears of extremism
Credit: Belga

Resistance to health measures related to the Coronavirus has been rising in recent months, leading to increased polarization, extremism and threats, according to Belgium’s Threat Assessment Coordination Body (OCAM).

In a report consulted by Flemish public broadcaster VRT, OCAM pointed to the various demonstrations and protest actions carried out in recent months against the anti-COVID measures.

Singling out a demonstration held two weeks ago in Brussels, in which over 30,000 persons participated, it noted that “organisations from various horizons joined forces for the first time to criticize the management” of the pandemic, according to Belga news agency.

This is a “counter movement” that has managed to occupy an increasingly imposing place in the public space, OCAM added.

The protests have led to increasingly strident calls, threats, and hate messages, creating “an inflamed and polarized” atmosphere, according to OCAM. “Hate speech against politicians, media and virologists thus appears to be becoming more and more socially acceptable,” it noted.

A possible vaccine mandate could fuel the protests even more, as occurred when the COVID Safe Pass was introduced, OCAM added.


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