The commemorative moment which was meant to take place on Sunday for former career soldier Jürgen Conings, whose body was recently found after a month-long manhunt, will not be allowed to go ahead.
At 2:00 PM on Sunday, an hour-long memorial march was planned to take place in Dilsen near the forest where Conings was found on Sunday after taking his own life, however, no request for the event has been received, and the Maasland police have also said it cannot go ahead.
“No application was received. We don’t know who’s behind organising it, and it is completely unclear what the organiser’s intentions are,” Sofie Vandeweerd, the mayor of Dilsen-Stokkem said, according to reports from De Morgen.
She added that this means no impact assessment can be made and no agreements can be made with the organiser.
Conings disappeared on 17 May with heavy weaponry, leaving behind several letters, one of which included a threat to Belgian virologist Marc Van Ranst, and since garnered support among certain groups.
Rob Verreycken, a former member of the far-right Vlaams Belang political party put out a call for people on the social media platform Telegram to commemorate Conings by gathering in the Dilserbos earlier this week.
Attempts to contact the organiser via a web link in a call for help were unsuccessful, however, it is unclear whether Verreycken is the person that has been contacted with regards to the memorial event.
But now the police has forbidden the event from taking place, as “there is too much danger that public order and safety will be disrupted,” the Maasland police said, resulting in the city council of Dilsen-Stokkem not giving permission for the event.
Family’s private goodbye
On Friday, the official final farewell for Conings will take place in a funeral home in Maasmechelen (Limburg), whilst a private cremation for family and people close to Conings has been planned on Saturday.
The family said this will not be a time for political statements, according to Maarten Stulens of Papillon funeral home, that is organising the final farewell.
“The whole affair has already received enough media attention. The family wants to be able to say goodbye in privacy. They realise that there could be a strong media presence on Friday. Of course, they cannot prevent this, but they urge people to keep their distance and to show respect and calmness,” Stulens said.