At least seven people were injured, including a police officer, in clashes between militant French and Dutch speaking communities in the disputed Voeren Region of Eastern Belgium.
TRAVEL SHOT Lines of police trucks on road
GV Demonstrators climb embankment with police at the top (2 shots)
GV Demonstrators throwing stones at building site and opposing group returns fire (2 shots)
GV Demonstrators using wooden planks try to enter building
CU Demonstrators shouting and PAN TO Police line blocking road
GV Mounted police charge forward and demonstrators throw stones at them (2 shots)
GV PAN Police hosing water onto demonstrators
SV Overturned car
GV PAN Ambulance passing
SCU Police moving two demonstrators away
GV PAN FROM Mounted police to crowd of demonstrators
SCU Demonstrators singing (2 shots)
LV Man at window holding gun, points it at demonstrators and then at camera (78 ft)
GV Police move forward ZOOM BACK TO Injured man being attended by Red Cross workers
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Background: At least seven people were injured, including a police officer, in clashes between militant French and Dutch speaking communities in the disputed Voeren Region of Eastern Belgium. The district, close to belgium's frontiers with West Germany and the Netherlands, is officially part of Dutch-speaking Limburg Province - but the French-speaking residents want it returned to Francophone Liege.
SYNOPSIS: The police were called in when fighting broke out between two thousand Dutch-speaking Flemings and a few hundred Francophone Walloons. Riot equipment was necessary as the siege lasted for several hours. Stones were hurled at the opposing factions. Some sheltered from the hail of missiles in a building site.
It's the one hundred and fiftieth anniversary of Belgium this year, but the future of the country in its present form - an uneasy alliance between Dutch and French speakers - is in serious doubt. Now the difference between the rival sections - described as a "Language War", - is posing the most serious threat to the Government's and ultimately the country's survival.
During the violence, in which ears were overturned, a police officer was injured, and six other people later needed hospital treatment.
One of the immediate issues dividing the Government, apart from the language barrier, concerns plans to let Flanders, Wallonia and Brussels govern themselves. It was a major talking point during the nineteen seventies, and was all set to go ahead, when Prime Minister Wilfried Martens took office as Prime Minister last year. But the Flemish Christian Democrat Party, the biggest group in the Government, has now gone back on the plan, until there is agreement between the parties on the eventual shape of devolved rule.
Now demonstrators wield guns as the issue grows to fever pitch. Several people were arrested, including a Walloon who fired on Flemmings.
It's this kind of violence that Mr. Martens hoped he could avoid. But delays in the devolution plans have brought to the surface one of the most explosive issues the country's ever faces.