Sexist and racist comments spotted within a right-wing Flemish movement

A report by the Flemish channel VRT broadcast on Wednesday reveals that the conservative right-wing movement "Schild & Vrienden" (Shield and Friends) has nothing moderate in practice. Online conversation groups focus on racist, sexist and anti-Semitic comments.

The reporters follow the founder of the movement, Dries Van Langenhove, who also sits on the board of directors of Ghent University. "Schild & Vrienden", which recently disrupted a demonstration in favour of a more humane immigration management in Ghent, wants to spread its ideas. The movement also aims to contribute to changing the political system by having its members elected in different forums.

However, in parallel with its political discourse, the movement is much more radical, racist, sexist and anti-Semitic in light of the discussions held in chat groups that VRT's Pano magazine has infiltrated.  "Schild & Vrienden" shares the same ambition as many far-right movements to "stop" the threat to white supremacy posed by immigration to the West.

To this end, some members are even willing to be violent. Van Langenhove also invites to "be ready for battle" by being in good physical shape, taking shooting lessons and obtaining a gun licence. The founder himself sells pepper spray to his members and suggests that he has a gun. In addition, references to a "war of races" are made.

The person concerned reacted by saying that it was "fake news", and that his identity had been stolen.

The Rector of Ghent University, of which Mr Van Langenhove is a member of the Board of Directors, expressed his "indignation" on Wednesday evening after the broadcast of the report.

Belgian Justice Minister Koen Geens (CD&V) announced on Thursday that the Ghent Public Prosecutor's Office will open an investigation into the "Schild & Vrienden" movement.

Top stories