Belgian Court Kills Vlaams Blok
Belgium’s supreme court has branded the very popular Vlaams Blok political party as racist—essentially killing it, because this will stop public funding to the party.
Belgium’s far-right Vlaams Blok was branded racist in a supreme court ruling that will force one of Europe’s most successful anti-immigrant parties to relaunch itself. The supreme court upheld a verdict by a lower court in April that found the party to be guilty of “permanent incitement to segregation and racism”.
The top court rejected all 21 arguments put forward by the Vlaams Blok in an appeal against the April ruling by a court in Ghent, saying that freedom of speech had its limits under tough new anti-racism legislation. The verdict was met with applause from anti-racism activists inside the packed courtroom but gasps from party supporters.
Party officials had warned that the failure of the appeal would spell financial ruin for the Vlaams Blok with the loss of 250,000 euros (325,000 dollars) in annual public funding.
“What happened in Brussels today is unique in the Western world: never has a so-called democratic regime outlawed the country’s largest political party,” Vlaams Blok leader Frank Vanhecke said in a statement. “Today, our party has been killed, not by the electorate but by the judges.”
“We will establish a new party. This one Belgium will not be able to bury; it will bury Belgium,” he said.
While it’s hard to approve of every one of Vlaams Blok’s policies, there’s also no denying that this is very much a victory for European Islamic supremacist groups such as the openly radical, terror-supporting Arab-European League—because almost no one else opposes them.
UPDATE at 11/9/04 5:30:36 pm:
Here is the official Vlaams Blok statement. (Hat tip: BP.)
UPDATE at 11/9/04 5:50:01 pm:
Maarten Schenk comments at Live from Brussels.