The organisers of the Pukkelpop music festival going on in Limburg province this weekend have issued an apology for “misunderstandings which may have arisen after the removal of flags from the festival campsite,” the organisation said after a meeting with Hasselt mayor Steven Vandeput (N-VA).
Earlier, N-VA fraction leader in the federal parliament, Peter De Roover, had called for an apology after the Flemish flag had been mixed up with the version of the flag used by extreme right-wing groups. The official flag shows a lion rampant on a yellow ground, with the lion’s claws and tongue in red. The right-wing version shows the lion all in black, and has been referred to by the French-speaking press as a “collaboration flag” in reference to the adoption of the emblem by collaborators in Flanders during the Nazi occupation. .
The flag had been displayed by a gang of youths who shouted down climate activist Anuna De Wever (photo) at a climate event at the festival, then harassed her and her friends at the campsite, at one point uttering death threats, witnesses said.
The youths and others responded to the confiscation by distributing flags at the entrance to the festival.
“Pukkelpop is a festival where everyone is welcome, regardless of their gender, language, political beliefs, religion, outlook on life, disability, age, sexual orientation or ethnic origin,” the organisers said in a statement. “The organisers reject all forms of violence, whether physical or verbal, harassment and behaviour showing disrespect to festival visitors. The security of festival-goers is a priority for us.”