20th Jan 2022

EU Parliament demands justice after 'anti-vax' attack on MEP

Listen to article

European Parliament president David Sassoli has demanded justice following an attack against a Belgian MEP purportedly by anti-vaxers.

"Those responsible must be brought to justice," Sassoli said in a tweet on Monday (6 December). "We will never tolerate this kind of hatred. In a democracy, disagreement must be solved with words, not violence," he said.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

His comments follow an attack over the weekend against the family home of Belgian centre-right MEP Pascal Arimont.

Vandals tossed a Molotov cocktail at his house, confirmed by the police. Although it did not set fire to the house, the incident left Arimont badly shaken.

"One metre below the windows where our children sleep. I am speechless and horrified," said Arimont, in a Facebook post.

"I can deal with criticism. I can stand it when someone criticises me or my work. Even in a harsh tone. But what has happened now goes too far. Much too far!," he said.

"I am called 'cowardly'. How cowardly is it to throw an incendiary device on a house where children are sleeping?," he said.

Veiled threats accusing him of "blackmail" and "liar" were also spray-painted onto his garage door, the second time since August.

Arimont is cited in Belgian media as saying the attack had been carried out by those who oppose Covid vaccines.

He has in the past spoken out in favour of the vaccines and the science behind it, most recently in a Facebook post written around a day before the attack.

The backlash against Covid vaccines and other public-health measures was also on display after a peaceful protest turned violent in Brussels on Sunday (5 December).

Some of the protestors were chanting slogans of "Freedom", following fresh restrictions by the Belgian government in a bid to curb a spike in the infection rate.

Those restrictions include requiring children as young as six to wear face masks and limiting indoor events to 200 people.

Belgium's infection average over a seven-day period is 17,823, according to state health authorities . Another 313 are admitted daily to hospital over the same time period on top of 47 daily deaths.

Record-breaking Omicron wave sweeps across Europe

The record numbers reflect those registered by health authorities, and does not include self-tests or infected people who develop no symptoms, and are not aware of their contagiousness.

WHO: Omicron to infect over half of Europeans in two months

The World Health Organization said Omicron is likely to infect more than half of the population in Europe within the next two months, threatening healthcare systems. It warned that it is too early to consider Covid as an endemic virus.

News in Brief

  1. MEPs call for full-scale election observers in Hungary
  2. Nato membership 'very unlikely' on her watch: Finland's PM
  3. Germany investigates Green leaders' Covid-bonuns
  4. Officials surprised by Macron's call for seperate EU-Russia talks
  5. Commission to withhold EU funds from Poland in mine row
  6. 'Patriotic millionaires' call for wealth tax at virtual Davos
  7. Borders must not be moved by force, Scholz warns
  8. MEPs demand public consultation on gas and nuclear


Covid: what Germany got right - and wrong

Objectively speaking, German politicians have earned a good report card for their management of the corona pandemic so far. Why then is there so much anger about the national coronavirus response?

Latest News

  1. Macron promises strong EU borders
  2. MEPs to crackdown on digital 'Wild West'
  3. Macron calls for new security order and talks with Russia
  4. Macron's vision will hit EU Council veto buffers
  5. Hydrogen - the 'no-lose bet' for fossil-fuel industry?
  6. Tomorrow MEPs can end EU animal export horror show
  7. An EU-Africa 'equal partnership' must tackle past and present
  8. Metsola becomes youngest EU Parliament president

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us