'Solidarity must replace hatred': 200 protest against far-right in Brussels

'Solidarity must replace hatred': 200 protest against far-right in Brussels
Credit: Belga

At Brussels' Central Station, some 200 people gathered to protest against the extreme-right, one week after Flemish far-right party Vlaams Belang drew thousands of supporters to Brussels.

The static demonstration was organised because, after over five years, the trial of the far-right neo-Nazi party Golden Dawn is coming to an end in Greece, and the verdict is expected on 7 October.

"The trial has been going on for 5.5 years and is about whether the Golden Dawn is a criminal organisation," Eva Betavatzi of the organisation 'Solidary Greeks of Belgium' told Bruzz.

However, the protest is also directed against the far-right in Belgium. "We know that Vlaams Belang has had official meetings with Golden Dawn, even though Vlaams Belang denies that there are official links with that party," Betavatzi said.

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The demonstrators referred to Vlaams Belang's protest last Sunday, for which 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.

"International solidarity is good, but we must also fight against right-wing extremism in Belgium," Axel Farkas, one of the demonstrators present said.

"We should not give parties such as Vlaams Belang any space in the public space, nor in the media", said Betavatzi. "Solidarity must replace this hatred."

Maïthé Chini

The Brussels Times

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