Climate activist Anuna De Wever targeted in Pukkelpop incident, "black" Flemish lion flags seized

The renowned Pukkelpop music festival in Kiewit (Limburg) was disturbed by an incident in which the young Belgian climate activist Anuna De Wever was targeted. De Wever was first booed while she was on stage for her climate campaign, and she and some friends were later harrassed at their tent on the festival campsite. After the incident, organisers decided to ban so-called "black" Flemish lion flags from the site.

The problems started on the Boiler Room stage, where De Wever held the "Clap for Climate" action together with the Flemish film director and fellow climate activist Nic Balthazar. The aim was to have the people clap their hands together to highlight the global warming issue.

Part of the audience cooperated, while others booed De Wever. "It's normal that some people support the action, while others are against. Anuna can cope with that", said festival spokesman Frederik Luyten. However, Anuna De Wever said it was the first time the response was so negative. She had staged similar actions at Dranouter, the Lokerse Feesten and the Cactus Festival.

However, organisers say a line was crossed by what happened afterwards. De Wever and her friends were reportedly harrassed on the campsite. There are talks of verbal abuse, and bottles filled with urine being thrown at them. Jeroen De Preter's daughter was also targeted in the incident: he writes on Twitter that "I just talked to my daughter on the telephone. She was deeply touched by what happened. After Anuna had been spotted at their tent, young men kept them awake uttering death threats; bottles filled with urine were hurled at them and a party tent was destroyed."

About 20 "black" lion flags were seized after the incident

De Wever and her friends got protection from security teams at the site. Festival organisers have announced an investigation, adding that "such things shouldn't have happened. It is completely unacceptable that people are being harrassed at a music festival, for whichever reason."

There may be a link with right extremist groups, but this is subject to investigation. This being said, organisers have seized some 20 Flemish lion flags after the incidents; these flags show the lion with black claws and tongue instead of the traditional red claws and red tongue. The flag is used both by the Flemish Movement and by right-wing extremists. 

Organisers called this "black flag" a "collaboration flag" but this was not well received by Flemish nationalist MP Peter De Roover (N-VA), who demanded public apologies (and who got them a couple of hours later). He underlines that this flag is symbol of the Flemish Movement in general, and not of collaboration during the war. However, the black lion flag was also used by those collaborating with the Nazi regime during World War II.  

Anuna De Wever has meanwhile left the festival.