Brussels police prevent football fans from displaying anti-fascist slogans, MP says

Brussels police prevent football fans from displaying anti-fascist slogans, MP says
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Brussels MP Els Rochette expressed her concern about the ban, instituted by the Brussels police on fans of Royale Union Saint-Gilloise, on displaying the anti-fascist message with which they are historically associated on their clothing and banners, according to her.

She decided to raise the subject with Rudi Vervoort, the Brussels minister-president.

Rochette is also a supporter of Union, a football club at the top of Division 1B. Club supporters were ordered by the police to withdraw their banner during Union's game with OHL on 11 January.

According to Rochette, a similar order had already been issued last autumn. The police cite provocation in justification, she said.

The football club, which has been playing at the Marien stadium for the last hundred years, has a long and rich tradition as well as being noted for its family atmosphere and the anti-racist stance openly displayed by its supporters, Rochette emphasised. This tradition notably includes anti-fascist banners and the unofficial slogan: "Anti-fascist Unionist for Life".

"Union supporters set an example for many other clubs in Belgium and abroad. Monkey chants and other racist behaviour of this nature, to which Lukaku notably fell victim quite recently in Italy, are absolutely unimaginable at Union. As a symbol and part of the club's identity, its anti-fascism is a sign of tolerance. It means all are welcome in the stadium, apart from racists and fascists," Rochette commented.

"Are we to understand that a banner inciting violence or bearing a swastika is to be treated in the same way as this anti-fascist message? It's incomprehensible and completely unacceptable," she added.

Rochette decided to call on the Brussels minister-president to demand that the Brussels South police zone withdraws the ban as soon as possible. For her, police regulations must be adapted if such a situation crops up in the future.

The MP furthermore considers the Regional and Inter-communal Police College (ERIP) should set up training courses on diversity, discrimination, racism and fascism that will enable clear distinctions to be made between hate messages and calls for tolerance.

The Brussels Times

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