Anti-‘cordon sanitaire’ demonstration to be held in Antwerp on Sunday
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    Anti-‘cordon sanitaire’ demonstration to be held in Antwerp on Sunday

    This time, unlike with the previous 'Mars op Brussel', the far-right party Vlaams Belang shows its support for the demonstration. Credit: Flickr/Tijl Vercaemer

    The first of several monthly demonstrations against the political ‘cordon sanitaire’ in the Flemish government will be held on Sunday 20 October on the Groenplaats in Antwerp.

    The goal is to organise a ‘standing demonstration’, meaning that the demonstrators will assemble at the Groenplaats in Antwerp at noon and stay there. The Facebook page of the event announced that banners and flags are welcome, but “slogans with forbidden signs and racism” will not be tolerated.

    The goal is to hold a demonstration every month. “We are not satisfied with the way the Flemish government has been formed, and the cordon sanitaire has been maintained,” said Albert Boeckx, one of the organisers of the demonstration, reports Het Nieuwsblad. “The voice of the common people in Flanders is lost once again,” he said.

    The cordon sanitaire is a political measure all parties took in 1991 to keep the extreme-right party out of the government when Vlaams Belang (then called Vlaams Blok) gained a lot of support. Despite there no longer being a written agreement between the parties not to cooperate with Vlaams Belang, the verbal agreement has remained.

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    Even though the three organisers claim to have permission for the demonstration, there is no final authorisation yet, according to Antwerp mayor Bart De Wever (N-VA), reports De Morgen.

    Vlaams Belang kept its distance from the ‘Mars op Brussel’ (“March on Brussels”) on 15 September 2019, which was forbidden by Brussels mayor Philippe Close, because the organisers came from right-wing extremist circles and had a violent past, according to the party. This time, the party is showing its support. Several members of Vlaams Belang, like Filip Dewinter and Anke Van Dermeersch, have already confirmed their presence.

    “We are not going to slow down a well-intentioned initiative taken by friendly people”, said Vlaams Belang chairman Tom Van Grieken, reports Het Nieuwsblad.

    Maïthé Chini
    The Brussels Times