Twitter account critical of right-wing organisation taken offline after death threats
Share article:
Share article:

Twitter account critical of right-wing organisation taken offline after death threats

Van Langenhove campaigning for Vlaams Belang in May. Credit © Facebook

A Twitter account criticising the Flemish extremist group Schild & Vrienden has been taken offline after its owner received death threats.

The account, named Schuld & Vrienden as a play on words meaning “guilt and friends”, was run by a teaching assistant and doctoral student at the University of Ghent. The account was originally anonymous, but supporters of the group discovered the identity of the owner and contacted him with death threats.

Schild & Vriend (shield and friend) is a shibboleth used in the 14th century to distinguish Flemish militiamen in Bruges from occupying French military: the pronunciation would have been very difficult, if not impossible, for a non-Dutch speaker to replicate correctly.

The organisation of that same name, came to public notice last year after a VRT report revealed the sexist, anti-Semitic and racist language being used by members on a closed Facebook group. Before then, however, the spoof account was publishing inside information on the group on Twitter.

The founder and leader of Schild & Vrienden, Dries Van Langenhove, was suspended by the University of Ghent as a student representative on the university board and banned from the university grounds. However, that ban was partially reversed by a court and Van Langehove was allowed access to the library to complete his thesis. Van Langenhove (pictured) was recently elected in the May elections to sit in the federal parliament for Vlaams Belang, with some 23,000 first preference votes.

In the meantime, supporters of Van Langenhove’s group discovered the identity of the spoof account’s owner and sent him death threats. They also claimed the account had published private information concerning members of the group who are students at the university, thereby abusing his position as part of the teaching staff.

The university has now denied the accusation. “There is no indication he abused his position as a teaching assistant at UGent,” the university said in a statement. He never had access to personal information on students in connection with his function, and published tweets under the account on his own behalf and not as a representative of the university, the statement said.

Alan Hope
The Brussels Times

Latest news

Operation Sky ECC: Major arrests and another large scale operation
A major operation took place last night in Belgium as a result of Operation Sky ECC, the name given to an investigation into organised crime that ...
Consultative Committee expected to discuss telework and state of emergency
On Tuesday afternoon, Belgium's Consultative Committee will be meeting earlier than expected to discuss the worsening epidemiological situation. ...
Highest number of new Covid-19 cases recorded since November 2020
The number of people testing positive for the coronavirus in Belgium is continuing to increase and has now reached levels last recorded in November ...
Prototype test plane crashes in Belgium after pilot ejects
A prototype aircraft crashed on Sunday afternoon in Yves-Gomezée (Walcourt, Namur province) during a test flight, according to several local media ...
EU questions Israeli decision to ban Palestinian NGOs
The Israeli government’s decision on Friday to outlaw six Palestinian civil society organisations operating in the West Bank has caused consternation ...
More politicians than ordinary citizens at the Conference on the Future of Europe
The second Plenary of the Conference took place on Saturday in the European Parliament in Strasbourg and discussed the contributions from the ...
Belgium’s Consultative Committee will meet today
The next meeting of Belgium's Consultative Committee, scheduled for Friday, has been brought forward to Tuesday at 4:30 PM, according to local media ...
Coca-Cola, Pepsi and Unilever are world’s biggest plastic polluters
Coca-Cola, Pepsi, and Unilever were found to be the world's biggest polluters of plastic in a report published by Branded on Monday. Over 11,000 ...
Four men charged with illegally buying thousands of live ducks to hunt on private land
Four Belgian men will appear in court on Monday facing charges related to the purchase of thousands of ducks, which were then released into a private ...
More wolf attacks: 15 deer killed at family resort over the weekend
Fifteen deer were killed by wolves in the Belgian province of Limburg this weekend, between Saturday night and Sunday morning. The deer were ...
Cost of breast cancer still too high for many patients
Breast cancer still carries too high a cost for patients when one in nine women in Belgium will face the disease before reaching 75, according to a ...
Gare Maritime: Brussels’ most exciting new architectural project
A generation ago, the Gare Maritime in the Tour & Taxis industrial site was an abandoned wasteland. It is now a model for urban renewal and ...