Saturday, May 13, 2006


An 18-year-old man with an an extreme-right background shot and killed a Turkish woman during a racist outrage in Antwerp Thursday.After shooting and severely injuring the 47-year-old Turkish woman, Hans Van Themsche, 18, then shot and killed a pregnant Malinese woman, before killing a two-year-old native Flemish girl.

His rampage ended when a police officer shot Van Themsche in the stomach. He will now undergo police questioning in hospital on Friday.

Van Themsche had shaved his head just days before his shooting spree. But a note later recovered from his home by police suggests that his racist politics was more deeply rooted. His father had been a founding member of the Vlaams Blok, the anti-immigration, Flemish separatist party renamed Vlaams Belang, or Flemish Interest, in 2004 in a bid to broaden its appeal. His aunt, Frieda Van Themsche, is a VB member of the Belgian parliament.The Vlaams Blok has risen from murky neo-fascist roots to reinvent itself as a modern, free-market party and become the biggest in Dutch-speaking Flanders, the richest part of Belgium with 60 percent of the population.

The article below is from Xinhua.

Silent march held to honor Antwerp shooting victims

Hundreds of shocked local residents turned out in silent protest on Friday in the Belgian city of Antwerp at the scene of Thursday's shooting of three people in the city center.

Family members of the au pair headed the procession which included Antwerp Mayor Patrick Janssens and many other local politicians.

The march followed a route from St. Mary's Cathedral to the various scenes of Thursday's shootings.

Flowers were laid and candles were lit during a minute's silence observed at the site of the attack on a Turkish woman and the place of the murder of a young black woman and a Flemish toddler.

Shocked immigrant communities have condemned the shooting and called on governments at local, regional and federal levels to take measures against extreme right movements and eliminate racism.

"This cowardly murder may not drive the population groups in Antwerp apart," the Union of Turkish Associations, the Afrikaans Platform, the Antwerp Urban Consultation Council, the Federation of Moroccan Associations, Voem and the Pakistan Community said in a statement.

"This must stop. The leaders of the far right parties are, at the least, morally responsible for these appalling deeds," the statement said.

"The governments (local, Flemish and federal) must now wage a policy of zero tolerance against all forms of racism and against extreme-rights," it said.

Mohammed Chakkar, coordinator of the Federation of Moroccan Organizations, said the series of racially motivated attacks in Belgium over the past week revealed decades of racial hatred.

He appealed for more powerful action against racism in the Belgian society.

Earlier, police raided the house where the 18-year-old culprit of Thursday's killings lives and found plans indicating that he carefully planned his killing spree.

The young man, Hans van Themsche, has been identified as the nephew of Flemish Interest legislator Frieda van Themsche. His father was also a member of the extreme-right party, the successorof the Flemish Block which was convicted of racism in 2004.

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