14 May 2004
BRUSSELS – Belgium’s far right Flemish party, the Vlaams Blok, has scrapped plans to set up a controversial telephone hotline that would have allowed people to denounce suspected illegal immigrants.
On Thursday evening the Blok announced that it was withdrawing its plan to introduce the anonymous telephone service, which would initially have been put in place in Antwerp, one of the far right party’s political strongholds.
The Blok’s U-turn followed widespread criticism of its plan from all sides of the political spectrum in Belgium.
On Thursday Belgian interior minister, Flemish Liberal Patrick Dewael, firmly denounced the Blok’s initiative.
“Every citizen who witnesses an offence – and living in Belgium illegally is clearly one – must report it. But he or she must report it to the police, not a political party,” he said.
Other politicians were equally scathing.
Flemish socialist Stijn Bex said he “did not want to live in a society with 10 million police officers.”
Earlier in the day Ecolo parliamentarian Elisabeth Durand branded the Blok’s plan a “Nazi” initiative.
[Copyright Expatica 2004]
Subject: Belgian news