Friday, September 14, 2007

A Flemish Reader’s Report

Yorkshire Miner’s account of the Brussels demonstration has caused some argument about the actions and statements of SIOE. A Flemish reader wrote me last night with his own account:

I don’t think that SIOE is completely honest in their official report about Tuesday in Brussels.

Brussels demoFirst of all they say the police did a fine job. This is not true. I was arrested half an hour before the demonstration, just outside Brussels central station. No warning, no aggravation from my side, I wasn’t near the demonstration. An unaware German tourist was arrested at the same time, the poor lad didn’t know what was happening. Not only at the VB demo were people arrested, the police had every corner angled and picked up anyone that was either Flemish or foreign.

SIOE states that the VB hijacked their demo, true, but most of the arrestees I met were not from the VB, just protesters on their own initiative and, as mentioned earlier, unaware tourists. SIOE makes it seem like the people arrested had it coming. Not a single word about the 570 cops from Luik who used their invitation by Thielemans to have a field-day, and abused and humiliated non-French speaking bystanders, tourists and passers-by.

Brussels demoThere were indeed Flemish cops. They were a bit ashamed of the police brutality. They gave me the number of Wallonian, French speaking cops: 19 divisions of 30 cops. They also allowed us to vent and have a meeting in front of the jail with the lawyer supplied by the VB. I’ll choose this lawyer since the number supplied by SIOE got me a secretary who didn’t know what I was talking about; she never heard of SIOE.
- - - - - - - - -
I also saw no reports about the guy that got a heart attack in jail and was left for over 30 minutes. I have posted this story at, a Dutch site; other people have posted their stories about the guy on their own sites or newspaper comments. I know one site, that has three eyewitness accounts of the guy lying on the floor unconscious. I would like to know what happened to him but I can’t find anything out.

If anyone knows any more about the guy who had a heart attack in jail, please email us or leave a message in the comments.

Brussels demo

I haven’t addressed the differing accounts of the events — from the SIOE and Vlaams Belang points of view — because I wasn’t there in Brussels on 9-11. I have, however, been posting eyewitness reports as they come in.

I have also received a firsthand (but off-the-record) account of what went on at the press conference when the leaders of SIOE left early. Does anyone want to go on the record and describe what happened at the press conference?


Henrik R Clausen said...

For those who missed it, here's some fine MSM coverage:

They rate it "Most important news of the week".

Enjoy :)

ProFlandria said...

So far I have seen only SIOE's account of what happened at the press conference:

" At a press conference scheduled later in the afternoon within the EU Parliament, Vlaams Belang distributed a leaflet reporting only the Schumann Square incident, and which also condemned the police for its “brutality”.
Following Anders Gravers and Stephen Gash having heated discussions with Vlaams Belang about the content and tone of the leaflet, the SIOE organisers refused to sit on the same stage with that party’s representatives."

On the subject of Vlaams Belang "hijacking" SIOE's event, SIOE admits that "Vlaams Belang made it clear in their statement to the assembled press, that the SIOE demonstration in Luxembourg Place was separate to the Vlaams Belang demonstration in Schumann Square."

It appears that there were two separate events, SIOE's at the Luxembourg Square and one for non-SIOE organizations at Schumann Square. Before the event SIOE took Brussels Journal to task for mentioning a second location of assembly. I can't locate SIOE's original post, but they made it clear that their event was the only one. Now, you can argue about the wisdom of holding to separate events on the same day for related purposes, but SIOE appears to believe it has a monopoly on demonstrations. As complete newcomers to the scene, they may well be on the way to killing their own initiative with their bull-in-the-china-shop approach.

Henrik R Clausen said...

I'll ask VB for their version. Stay tuned...

Stephen Gash said...

Bull in a China shop approach? We'd planned our demo for 6 months and had an agreement with Vlaams Belang and they broke it, pure and simple.

You can justify VB's actions as much as you like, but the press coverage put the separate demonstrations together as one.

VB scewed up the whole purpose of the demo and made sure that those who suspected their motives were proved right.

So much for presenting a united front against Islamism.

Anders and I are entirely blameless in this and our motive was/is pure and simple to stop Islamisation.

Why would anyone associate themselves with VB now? Why would they trust VB? The same with Ulfkotte, whom BTW the initial contact was made with VB.

If VB had said they were going to do a follow-up demo they would have had a readymade international backup. They've blown it in many peoples' eyes now.

R. Hartman said...

@Stephen Gash
You can blame anyone as much as you like, but you're just an amateur.

I think many saw the failure was unavoidable when you started blaming Paul Belien of BJ, who merely reported on the plan and its progress, giving you a platform, of trying to sabotage your demo by suggesting different locations, which he never did.

When Ulfkotte jumped ship and you kicked him out, the internal power struggle became too obvious to have the least faith left in what would eventually transpire.

If not for MEPs being arrested for no reason other than standing on the pavement, chatting or being interviewd, you wouldn't have had any MSM coverage at all. And even now, it was hardly given any attention. To be fair, neither did the 9/9 demo.

Immediately after the demo got banned, Filip de Winter stated openly that he would be there to celebrate his birthday in public. So you can hardly say that VB's presence, without any party banners, was a surprise for you.

SIOE lost all its credibility, also by not standing up for their supporters that were arrested, while VB did, due to none other than its own doing. Your demise is the result of sheer amateurism. Makes me wonder what you've been doing over these six months, it didn't appear to be very organised.

Still, you deserve some credit for the attempt. As someone else commented, D-Day1 was a disaster as well, but it paved the way for the success of D-Day2.

ProFlandria said...


Please correct me if I'm wrong, but it sounds as if you believe your game is the only one in town. VB decided to do their own thing for whatever reason, and that is their right. Besides, they have been fighting their own fight for over a decade and they are making headway.

I have previously said that some reconnaissance of your chosen terrain (i.e., the Belgian political and cultural minefield) would have benefited you enormously. Now, six months would probably not have been enough to do so properly but the fact remains you should take care not to reject possible allies, however small the overlapping interest may appear to be.

From a strictly mercenary point of view, VB is useful just "doing their own thing" because they are trying to break up the socialist monopoly that is the Belgian state. This is important because Socialism (and related leftist causes) are the engine that drives the Islamization. I'm not saying that they won't regret inviting this trojan Horse in the long run, but there it is.

Now, you may ask how their (possible) success in Belgium does you any good. Very good question... Belgium, as an artificial (and Socialist) state, has been the dream model for all hard-core Eurocrats. If that "model" project fails, the knock-on effect in the rest of the European Union could be considerable.

That is not to say your effort last Tuesday was not required, but rather that it could easily stand side-by-side with "locally grown" initiatives. And whatever you may think or feel about that, in the end you should respect it because maybe you do not understand the local dynamics. You are very new to this, and you will either learn to live with the other fish in the pool or not. I, for one, would much prefer that you succeed. Rome wasn't built in a day...

You may ask why I think I have a useful opinion on the situation. That's a fair question, so here goes:

In my job, I deal with large egos every day. Some I like, some I don't. however, I can not do my job if I let my personal feelings color my attitude towards various people. And yes, sometimes I may feel "betrayed" but there is always the other person's view - and more often than not, we agree to disagree and we move on. This is no little thing for me because I don't have a guaranteed income; if my customers don't like my work there are plenty of replacements - I'm am VERY expendable. You get good, or you fail. As for the actual task of protesting - my first one was last March in DC. However, it was a counter-protest against the leftist lobby. Police presence was modest; we were on opposite sides of a narrow street - but even with thousands in attendance on both sides, there were no arrests. My next event is tomorrow - please wish me luck, as I do you.

Unknown said...

Some people are more equal then others, this is how the mayor of Brussels reacts to non peacufull protesters:

Then again, THEY are not protesting his policies. Talk about bias and bigotry...

Stephen Gash said...

@ ProFlandia

Well you make my point exactly. We knew the situation surrounding VB and Belgium's internal politics.

We met with VB, and like Ulfkotte they promised much and delivered nothing, well nothing except strife.

Locally grown initiatives, you say. Well as I have said many times, we offered VB a deal and promised them support for future events as we saw Brussels as the first battle in the war.

So did you organise the DC protest and are you organising tomorrow's? Of course I wish you luck and if you are an organiser you have my respect - certainly more respect than those who sit in front of a computer screen and do little more than snipe at others' efforts.

I approached dozens of groups from different communities, and almost universally the fear was attendance of 'far right' groups and violence.

I achieved some success in persuading some of these groups to attend and to present petitions to MEPs. Then the ban happened which scared most off, as they are ordinary law abiding people.

Some stayed on, but were wary of VB's involvement, then backed out when Ulfkotte made his treacherous statement.

After the Schumann Sq incident I now have to start over again to try and persuade these people to attend another event soon.

Like you I have no regular income, in fact practically zero lately as I have put alot of time into the Brussels event.

Getting people on board takes an awful long time, but can be destroyed in a second.

Yes I am an amateur, not a professional, just like virtually everyone contributing here and attacking SIOE.

Is anybody going to try to persuade me that VB's Schumann Sq debacle smacked of professionalism?

VB never increased media attendence, they were there ready and waiting. Most reporters I spoke to said their producers only responded when SIOE said the demo would go on regardless of any court decision.

None were impressed by the so-called 'birthday celebration' - another professional display of how to distract from the main feature.

All those who say that the Schumann Sq debacle garnered publicity is just condemning us to small demos because people will now just stay away if they get so much as a whiff of VB or similar.

Please all you professionals out there show us how it is done.

If you have a try, I can promise you that you'll get no sniping from me.

Stephen Gash said...

@ r.hartman

I eagerly anticipate your effort