BRUSSELS (Oct. 7)
A neo-Nazi and racist demonstration held in Antwerp last Saturday has caused deep shock in Belgium. The demonstration was organized by the extreme rightwing Vloamse ‘Militanten Orde (VMO) group in protest against a proposal by some political movements to giving voting rights to immigrant workers in Belgium.
Some 500 neo-Nazis wearing black uniforms or commando outfits, armed with batons, chains, nailed belts and shouting racist slogans, marched in the city. Other fascist and neo-Nazi groups like Vere Di, Voorpost, Vloamse Blok and the Wiking Jugend took part in the demonstration.
Bert Erikson, the leader of the VMO, addressing his followers, called for the expulsion of immigrant workers and claimed that no concession would be made even if “blood had to be shed.” Some 200 anti-Nazis tried to disrupt the demonstration but police prevented them from approaching the demonstrators. Most political leaders condemned the Antwerp demonstration.
GOVERNMENT MOVES TO PROTECT JEWS
Meanwhile, Belgian Jewish leaders severely condemned the synagogue bombing in Paris last Friday and called on all European governments to take firm and vigorous steps to halt the resurgence of neo-Nazism.
In a radio address, Belgian Interior Minister Philippe Moureaux expressed his solidarity with threatened Jewish communities and announced that Belgium had taken a series of efficient measures to fight against the revival of Nazism. He promised that tougher measures would be taken if necessary.
Moureaux, however, called on the Belgian Jewish community not to yield to the temptation of forming self-defense groups, which, he said, might encourage further violence. He added that measures would be taken to protect Jewish schools and assured that his party, the Socialist Party, would help organize a mass demonstration to show that Belgians are opposed to Nazism.