Demonstrators protested in Antwerp today (Sunday) against what they called the increasing French domination of their capital, Brussels.
Demonstrators protested in Antwerp today (Sunday) against what they called the increasing French domination of their capital, Brussels. They were representing the 5,000,000 Dutch-speaking inhabitants of Belgium's north.
The demonstrators say that Brussels and its highly populated suburbs, which 100 years ago were mainly Flemish, are now almost exclusively French.
"Neither linguistically nor socially is it a place for us to feel at home in," they say.
The demonstrators - estimated of their number varied from 30,000 to 100,000 - marched through the streets of Antwerp for four hours.
They shouted slogans and sang the Flanders' national anthem. Some of the slogans attacked the existence of a Belgian state, although these were not supported by the demonstration's organising committee.
The committee's President, Professor Daels, said the demonstration was not directed against French-speaking Belgians. The further emancipation of the Flemish people, he added , and the creation of a special bilingual status for Brussels could only lead to an enduring linguistical peace end so serve their interests as well.