Wednesday, 18 June 2014
A Hideous Little Dictatorship...
About 30 minutes before kick-off, armed police entered Place du Luxembourg, outside the European Parliament. They were serving papers on the bar owners, in quite an aggressive manner. You see, the World Cup is not the big community event you might expect this time round. The local mayor has decreed that only the 3 Belgian group games can be watched outdoors.
The police were ordering the bar owners to switch off the big screens on their terraces the instant the game finished.
Now I don't want to think badly of my Belgian hosts - I have lived here for 10 years - but as a political scientist I have to tell you that Belgium does display distinct characteristics that we would normally associate with a fascist state.
This policy is clearly discriminatory, but that would not worry fascists. Let us hope that common sense kicks in, and we foreigners will be allowed to watch our national sides play outdoors.