Is part of the fringe hostile to the Covid-19 vaccine being radicalized? A Molotov cocktail was thrown on Saturday at the house of Pascal Arimont, German-speaking MEP, in Bullange, in the east of the province of Liège. The explosive was thrown at his home in the middle of the night, while he was there with his partner and his two children. The garage door is destroyed. The member’s pro-vaccine comments are at the origin of this criminal act.
A hateful slogan was also scrawled on the house. Translated into French, the message is “Lying, blackmailing, inciting hatred, dividing … you will pay for it“.
Pascal Arimont’s speech is not, however, radical. The deputy holds a speech in favor of the vaccine and scientific evidence but is against compulsory vaccination.
This is not the first time that this 47-year-old father has been a victim of this kind. In August, its portal was smeared with red paint and the slogan “politicians are cowardsOliver Paasch, the German-speaking Minister-President, was also the victim of similar acts. The German-speaking part of the country is very influenced by the anti-vaccine movement which is raging heavily across the border in Germany.
In view of the gravity of the events of this weekend and the endangering of his family, the MEP reacted and filed a complaint after the police.
The CDH, brother party of the German-speaking CSP of which Pascal Arimont is a member, called on Monday for federal initiatives to fight against violence against elected officials as well as on the Web, such as insults, constant death threats, harassing remarks … for a long time Maxime Prévot, president of the CDH. In August, after the floods, Axel Tixhon (CDH) resigned from his duties as mayor of Dinant, in particular because of the virulence of expressions against him on social networks.
The centrists are calling for a battery of measures to stem this violence, without harming the contradictory nature of the political debate, “very essence of democracy”.
Thereby, “hate speech on the Internet must no longer be a press offense falling under the Assize Court but must be corrected, otherwise there is de facto total impunity”. The convocation of an Assize Court for press offenses is extremely rare in Belgium, as well as expensive.
The CDH also calls for a specific judicial body, a sort of “Web Tribunal”. “The filing of a complaint when one goes beyond the simple use of the freedom of expression to indulge in the freedom of defamation or the call to violence must be the object of a more rapid and effective reaction..”
Finally, urges the HRC, the European Union must “to tackle intensively the delicate question of the algorithms of social networks which confront individuals with the same opinion as themselves, without more capacity of discernment or of putting in perspective”. The CDH has, moreover, drawn up a code of conduct for the use of the Web by the political world. He will submit it to the other parties in order to reach a possible consensus.AdM (with Belga)