Preventative approach ‘spared’ Belgium of riots
10 November 2005
BRUSSELS — The Belgian government’s preventative approach has ensured that the riots in France have not blown across to Belgium, Interior Minister Patrick Dewael said on Thursday.
“At the moment, there are isolated incidents and no city guerrillas or organised uprisings,” the Liberal VLD minister told MPs.
During a mini-debate in the Belgian Parliament in Brussels, Dewael said the situation in Belgium — which has witnessed four successive nights of unrest and arson attacks — cannot be compared with France.
However, Dewael said it is not impossible for French-style rioting to occur in Belgium, but that the Belgian focus on prevention — via a close-knit network of street and neighbourhood workers — was bearing fruit.
He said the careful approach of police — dubbed community policing — was also giving good results, newspaper ‘De Standaard’ reported.
Dewael said he was open to discussions with all levels of government to create more chances for youths, but stressed at the same time that politicians cannot do everything. He said parents also needed to take responsibility.
The minister’s comments come after dozens of cars and trucks have been torched in Brussels, Antwerp and Ghent in recent days. It sparked fears that French violence would jump the border.
Despite the tension though, the national crisis centre has said no large gatherings of youths have been witnessed and the situation was in general calmer on Wednesday evening than on previous nights.
[Copyright Expatica News 2005]
Subject: Belgian news