Bourgeois: "I don't want a police state"

The Flemish PM Geert Bourgeois is not embracing the idea of being able to declare the state of emergency after a major terror attack. This is despite the idea having been launched by his own party, the Flemish nationalist N-VA.

Speaking in De Standaard, Bourgeois says he is willing to consider extra measures, but that there are limits. "The rule of law can never be abandoned. A police state? Not for me, thanks."

Bourgeois is in the same line as the federal PM Charles Michel, who says the intervention of a magistrate remains a necessary step to detain someone. "I don't want a Guantanamo in Belgium", Michel said.

The N-VA had proposed plans to be able to act swiftly in case a major terrorist attack should take place. People could be arrested and kept behind bars for some time without the judicial authorities intervening. The N-VA also proposed separate courts to trial terror suspects.

The N-VA has dismissed claims the party would be divided on the issue.