Residents of the Belgian town of Mouscron turned out in large numbers on Tuesday to sign a book of condolence at the local City Hall and pay homage to their mayor, Alfred Gadenne, brutally murdered on Monday evening. Stunned residents of the town, located about 100 km west of Brussels, woke up on Tuesday morning to the news that the mayor had died, his throat slit in the cemetery just opposite his home in Luingne. They started queueing up at 9 a.m. to sign the book of condolence opened at the new administrative centre in Mouscron.
A minute’s silence was also observed in the commune’s schools during the 10 a.m. break in honour of the departed mayor, City Hall said in a press release. The municipal council met on Tuesday morning, but did not designate a new mayor, preferring to postpone that decision until after Gadenne’s funeral.
Alfred Gadenne, a champion of preferential voting, was always the darling of Mouscron’s residents, who sent him back into office at every poll, after first electing him in 2006.
Mouscron, one of the last humanist strongholds in the Walloon part of Picardy, has lost three of its elected leaders in four years – former councillor Damien Yserbyt, ex-mayor Jean-Pierre Detremmerie, and now Gadenne – three tragic deaths that have shaken the commune’s people.