Vlaams Belang banned from speaking during Holocaust commemoration
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    Vlaams Belang banned from speaking during Holocaust commemoration

    To commemorate the victims of Nazism, the MPs polished the six Stolpersteine in Rue du Lombard. Credit: Association pour la Mémoire de la Shoah AMS

    The group leaders of almost every political party in the Brussels Parliament requested that Vlaams Belang would be denied access to the commemoration ceremony in memory of the Holocaust on Monday.

    The Association for the Commemoration of the Holocaust invited the Brussels MPs to take part in a ceremony. To commemorate the victims of Nazism, the MPs polished the six Stolpersteine (literally means ‘stumbling stones’ in German, concrete cubes bearing a brass plate inscribed with the name and life dates of victims of Nazi extermination or persecution) in the Rue du Lombard, on Monday.

    The various group leaders, including Dominiek Lootens-Staels of Vlaams Belang, were allowed to speak briefly at the ceremony, to the dissatisfaction of almost all other parties. PS, MR, Ecolo, Défi, PTB, CDH, one.brussels-SP.A, Open VLD, Groen, CD&V, PVDA, Agora and DierAnimal all supported a joint call to withdraw the invitation for Vlaams Belang.

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    “The presence of a representative of a party who openly advocates xenophobia and hatred of others dishonours this ceremony. The intention was precisely to recall how daily racism lays the foundation for the worst horrors,” the joint press release said. The Flemish rightwing N-VA was the only political group that did not sign the letter.

    MPs threatened to stay away from the ceremony, but the organisers decided to not allow the Vlaams Belang representative to speak.

    Translation of Tweet: “For the commemoration of #Auschwitz75 in front of the Brussels Parliament today, the President of the association for the memory of the Shoah, Marcel Zalc, declares that all political groups are invited to take the floor excluding the Vlaams Belang”

    “It is an absolute disgrace,” said Lootens-Stael, who decided not to attend, reports Bruzz.

    During the speech from Gilles Verstraeten for N-VA, several attendees turned their back on him.

    Maïthé Chini
    The Brussels Times