Brussels police have removed a number of posters depicting cartoons of the prophet Mohammed in the past week, Bruzz reports.
The posters featured cartoons drawn by the artist known as Charb for the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo. Charb, born Stéphane Charbonnier, was one of the victims of the attack on the Paris offices of the magazine in January 2015, in which 12 members of staff were killed by two gunmen protesting the publication of the caricatures.
The drawings were also involved in the murder last Friday on the street in Paris of Samuel Paty, a school history teacher who had shown his class two examples in answer to a question from students.
The Brussels police zone Brussels City-Ixelles confirmed having removed posters.
“We have informed the prosecutor’s office that posters are still there, but this is not a criminal offence,” a spokesperson told the paper.
Other were removed, after the police took a photo and checked for the presence of CCTV cameras in the area which might be able to show who was responsible.
Fly-posting – putting up posters without permission – is not a criminal offence, but it can be subject to a municipal administrative sanction.
The police denied they were infringing the right to freedom of expression. Muslims are likely to find the cartoons offensive, showing as it does Mohammed with bare buttocks and the slogan “Et le cul de Mohammed, on a le droit?” (And Mohammed’s butt, is that allowed?).
“The caricatures themselves are absolutely not punishable, but the infringement here is illegal posting,” the police spokesperson said.
“You may only put up a poster if you have permission from the competent authority. We remove the posters and hand them over to the cleansing service of Brussels-City, as we do with all illegal posters.”