On Tuesday, the police arrested a suspect for distributing anti-LGBTQ stickers at various locations in and around the city of Antwerp.
The stickers show a rainbow flag, symbolising the LGBTQ community, crossed with a black stripe and the text “just normal” (“gewoon normaal” in Dutch) turned up in a few places in Antwerp and Ghent last weekend.
“The investigation, in cooperation with various internal partners, brought a suspect to light [on Tuesday]. A house search was carried out, after which the suspect was arrested,” the police said in a press release.
The suspect was arrested for incitement to hatred, the police said on Twitter.
“The case was handed over to the Public Prosecutor’s Office in Antwerp, which will continue the investigation,” they added.
De Antwerpse politie kon de verdachte arresteren die op verschillende plaatsen in Antwerpen stickers verspreidde met een anti-LGBTI-boodschap. Het onderzoek van de cel diversiteit en verschillende interne partners leidde vandaag tot een huiszoeking en een arrestatie. pic.twitter.com/tBolzoCoo1
— Politie Antwerpen (@PZAntwerpen) September 14, 2021
For how long the stickers had been around in Antwerp is not clear but several pictures of them were already posted to social media platform Reddit by user ‘u/CurryKruidenKetchup’ a few weeks ago.
They have since been spotted in various places in Antwerp, mainly in the north of the city, around the Seefhoek, Dam Square and Park Spoor Noord.
The stickers are reminiscent of the LGBTQ-free zones in Poland, where the pro-government newspaper Gazeta Polska distributed stickers that people could place on their windows or shops to make it clear that people identifying as gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender were not welcome.