Court confirms that Vlaams Blok is racist
10 November 2004, BRUSSELS - Belgium's supreme court has ruled that the far right Flemish Vlaams Blok party does indeed break the country's anti-racism laws.
10 November 2004
BRUSSELS - Belgium's supreme court has ruled that the far right Flemish Vlaams Blok party does indeed break the country's anti-racism laws.
The supreme court made the ruling late on Tuesday afternoon, upholding a verdict handed down by a Ghent court in April this year.
The Blok itself had asked the supreme court to take a decision on the April ruling, arguing that the Ghent court was wrong to brand it racist.
But on Tuesday the country's top appeal tribunal rejected all 21 of the far-right party's argument's against the Ghent ruling.
The decision means that several not-for-profit groups linked to the party will have to pay hefty fines handed out in April.
But more importantly it means that the Blok will almost certainly lose state funding worth around a quarter of a million euros.
Racist parties are not allowed to receive public money in Belgium.
The Blok reacted angrily to the news and pledged to re-invent itself with a new name in order to get around the verdict.
"Today, our party has been killed, not by the electorate but by the judges," Vlaams Blok leader Frank Vanhecke said in a statement released after the supreme court ruling.
"We will establish a new party. This one Belgium will not be able to bury; it will bury Belgium," he added.
Vanhecke also reaffirmed his party's desire to see Flanders spilt from Belgium and become an independent sate.
Earlier this week the Block said that that, if it lost the appeal, it would rename itself either "Vlaams Blok+" or "Vlaams Belang" (The Flemish Interest).
The party also said it would no longer advocate the wholesale expulsion of non-white immigrants.
But the Blok pledged to push on with its campaign against immigration and to demand Flemish independence.
[Copyright EXpatica 2004]
Subject: Belgian news