A counter-demonstration to a Vlaams Belang (VB) protest that last week drew thousands of supporters of the far-right party will take place in Brussels on Saturday.
Several anti-fascist and left-wing organisations are seeking to energise demonstrators to gather in Brussels’ Gare Centrale to denounce the VB’s “nauseating ideas.”
A heavily promoted demonstration saw supporters of the Flemish far-right party head to Brussels on 27 September to denounce the lack of a Flemish majority in the federal government, which has seen been sworn in.
Some 4,500 demonstrators drove in from around Flanders and were allowed to gather in a large parking lot just outside Brussels which drew condemnation after images emerged of one participant drove in in a truck brandishing Nazi imagery.
A report by De Morgen later identified the man as a staunch supporter of the far-right party who is suspected of leading efforts to reestablish the Flemish Legion, a military group who recruited volunteers from German-occupied Belgium to fight alongside the Nazis.
VB officials quickly sought to distance the party and the demonstration saying that supporters like that “were not welcome” and that security staff could “not see everything,” but according to reports from the protest, xenophobic chants often rose from the crowds.
“As many social movements see their freedom of expression denied or restricted, and that a march against racism planned for the same day in Ostend is banned, the Vlaams Belang is authorised to spread their nauseating ideas at the doorstep of the Belgian capital,” organisers of the counterprotest wrote on Facebook.
Some 700 people have so far responded to the event, organised also to denounce the VB’s links to neo-Nazi and far-right Greek party Golden Dawn, currently facing trial over a string of criminal activities by supporters, including one who stabbed an anti-fascist Greek rapper to death.
“The Golden Dawn trial must serve to remind us that, behind the VB’s neat communication strategies, there are always the same violent and criminal organisations,” organisers wrote.
Supporters of the counter-protest are called to gather in Gare Central from 2:00 on Saturday, with police in Brussels confirming they are in contact with organisers.
The Brussels Times