Antwerp mayor attacks cocaine snorters after grenade blasts

The Mayor of Antwerp has announced fresh security measures following a spate of grenade explosions linked to drug trafficking in the northern port city in recent weeks.  Mr De Wever (Flemish nationalist) is responding for a first time after opposition parties castigated the mayor's silence in this dossier.

Mr De Wever says he fears victims will be claimed in future, but stresses that the violence is drug dealer on drug dealer: "For the people who live in these neighbourhoods it's intolerable."

In future police will no longer have to motivate stopping people to check their identity: "Everybody and everything in certain districts can be checked after a certain hour.  Extra CCTV cameras are being set up and more police will operate in plain clothes and uniform."

The mayor points to the responsibility of drug users: "I get so irritated by people who talk about quality of life and clean air, but at the same time aren't worried about drug use and even wish to legalise it.  These are yuppies that have been described as ‘yoga sniffers’.  They know what life is and have an enormous ecological consciousness."

"I point to the hypocrisy: these people like to snort a line and have no trouble with the idea that they are keeping an entire criminal chain alive, which creates great havoc in the countries of origin as well as victims on the streets of Europe."

Mr De Wever notes that drug crime arrived in the port city from the Netherlands in the Eighties.  He believes we are paying for the policies of the past:  "Drugs are a business of billions and drug barons are immensely powerful and stubborn. Drug crime has fallen in recent years as have other crimes, but the results are blown away by the recent spectacular incidents."

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