Dries Van Langenhove, the independent right-wing MP who sits in parliament with Vlaams Belang, has replied to criticism after he was found to have attended a right-wing rally in Paris yesterday, in breach of Covid-19 restrictions.
Van Langenhove is the creator of the grouping known as Schild & Vrienden, and along with some members of the group is facing charges of racism and negationism – the denial of the Holocaust.
Van Langenhove was elected to parliament in 2019 as an independent, but now sits with the Vlaams Belang fraction.
Meanwhile the measures taken to combat the spread of the coronavirus state that all travel that is not essential is forbidden for the time being. Travelling without a valid reason attracts a fine of €250.
Van Langenhove took part yesterday in a rally in Paris involving some 1,500 people, protesting at the legal dissolution of the ‘Génération identitaire’ group, whose views are similar to those of his own group. Like Schild & Vrienden, the group is also being investigated for racism.
Questioned by De Morgen on the justification for his own trip, Van Langenhove replied, “The French government wants to silence nationalist youth. I have rarely taken a journey that was so essential.”
Als het regent in Parijs druppelt het in Brussel. Daarom ging ik vandaag de Fransen een hart onder de riem steken in hun protest tegen de Franse regering die rechtse jongerenbewegingen wil verbieden. De Belgische regering staat immers te popelen om het Franse voorbeeld te volgen. pic.twitter.com/ZOagPBrCnv
Meanwhile on Twitter, he posted a photo of himself at the rally, and wrote, “When Paris gets the flu, Brussels catches a cold. That is why today I went to support the French in their protest against the French government that wants to ban right-wing youth movements. After all, the Belgian government is eager to follow the French example.”