The first separatist riots in the current Belgian crisis have taken place at a council meeting in Wezembeek-Oppem near Brussels, where a group of Flemish nationalist politicians and adherents to the Flemish nationalist party Vlaams Belang stod up and shouted down a councillor who tried to speak in French. The council is officially Flemish, and though it nowadays has a French-speaking majority, all proceedings must bed held in Flemish. The rioters were forcibly removed by the police, and although there was an egg flying through the air, nobody has been reported injured.
But it gets worse. The Home Secretary of the Flemish regional government, Marino Keulen, has said he will overrule and nullify the appointments of mayors both in Wezembeek-Oppem as well as in Kraainem and Linkebeek, and will also repeal a few other decisions taken there. The reason is that French had been spoken during the preceding debate, reports De Morgen. That is forbidden under the language laws and gives the regional government, the equivalent of a State government in the US, the power to invalidate any decision where the wrong language has been spoken in the process.
Meanwhile, the Walloon politician Didier Reynders, Minister of Finance and Deputy Prime Minister in the former government and one of the most high-profile French-speaking politicians, has said he could imagine some concessions in the sensitive government formation talks, which has immediately prompted French-speakers to brand him as betraying their cause.
The case continues…