The local police of Mechelen-Willebroek opened an investigation on Sunday evening after threats were made against virologist Marc Van Ranst at Mechelen’s train station.
Van Ranst was at the Mechelen train station on Sunday when a man made threats against him. The virologist posted two photographs of the individual on Twitter.
— Marc Van Ranst (@vanranstmarc) August 23, 2020
"At the Mechelen train station, a guy approached me because he was going to 'destroy me because I am a left-wing rat'. He did the Hitler salute. Poor man," Van Ranst wrote on the social network.
Van Ranst's original tweet was deleted, but a screenshot remains on his profile.
The Mechelen police opened an investigation after seeing the message from the virologist. "We asked for the images from the city's surveillance cameras in the station area and from our colleagues of the railway police,” the spokesman of the local police said.
"We have not yet had any contact with Mr. Van Ranst, he has not yet filed a complaint and it is not necessary for this kind of facts. We will contact him later to get his version of the facts."
The Antwerp public prosecutor's office has been informed, which is necessary when images from surveillance cameras are requested and kept during an investigation.
The Mayor of Mechelen, Alexander Vandersmissen, condemned the threats on Twitter.
Onze politiediensten zijn reeds een onderzoek gestart, camerabeelden van de spoorwegen werden opgevraagd en ook onze eigen camerabeelden worden bekeken. Dit soort gedrag is weerzinwekkend en mogen we nooit aanvaarden! https://t.co/mYAjUo8iNu
— Alexander Vandersmissen (@alexander_vds) August 23, 2020
Translation: Our police services have already started an investigation, camera images of the railroads have been requested and also our own camera images are being viewed. This kind of behaviour is disgusting and we should never accept it!
The Brussels Times