Residents of a Belgian village are furious after their mayor ordered the removal of a Royal Air Force war memorial, honouring British troops.
The monument in Doel, on the River Schelde near Antwerp, was taken away in the early hours of Monday and its plinth was destroyed by workmen. It had stood on the site since 1948 in memory of those who manned defences against German air raids in WWII.
Since the first rumours emerged that the memorial was under threat, Alain Heyrman, 48, has campaigned to protect it. "It was still respected and honoured by everyone round here," he said. "It's important for us to have the remembrance of the Second World War and the brave British soldiers who fought for our freedom."
Every July since 1948 the villagers have held a procession finishing at the polished granite memorial, honouring their RAF defenders. But that ended in 2009 when the local mayor, Marc Van de Vijver, banned it. Those villagers believe the memorial's removal is the latest part of a plan to weaken their resolve to campaign to save Doel.
The embankment of the River Schelde is the place where the action took place, where the artillery guns were, so people have to respect that the monument should be here”. Marc Van de Vijver denies this and insists the two issues must not be linked. He says the memorial's future is guaranteed, albeit in another nearby town five or six miles away.
The mayor also explained that workmen removed the memorial under cover of darkness because they simply wanted to make an early start. Mr Heyrman is livid with the mayor's conduct and says the port expansion should at worst need the memorial to have been shifted a short distance along the riverbank.
"Even if the port expansion ever takes place, they could still keep the monument here," he said. "If necessary relocating it 100m along the embankment to outside the limits of the new port. The monument is the soul of the village and should not have been moved.
"There's no connection with the other village. The embankment of the River Schelde is the place where the action took place, where the artillery guns were, so people have to respect that the monument should be here."
Those who have spent decades honouring the memory of British troops who fought to keep Europe free of tyranny say they will fight on until the memorial is returned to where they believe is the only fitting and proper place - the village of Doel.
Wednesday, 30 March 2011
Tuesday, 22 March 2011
An EU report has recommended that organisations which it describes as ‘racist’ be dissolved and has described the BNP’s electoral success as ‘unpalatable’.
While not specifically calling on the BNP to be dissolved, it is clear from the context of the report that this is what is intended.
In a report released on Tuesday by the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI), for the Council of Europe, said it was “greatly concerned” about the democratic election of two BNP members, together with the “substantial local support bases in certain regions”.
The ECRI asserts that emergency legislation adopted in 2002 should allow the UK government to dissolve legal and democratic organisations such as the BNP.
Aside from proposing anti-democratic manoeuvres, the ECRI makes the following recommendations:
1.) Increased funding for Trevor Phillips’ race Gestapo; the heavily criticised Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC).
2.) The construction of more pitches for gypsies and travellers.
3.) Undocumented (bogus) asylum seekers should not be considered as criminals.
4.) Further witch-hunting of the employees within the Home Office and UK Border Agency.
5.) Provide more legal aid for employees that play the race card.
The commission is chaired by Latvian Nils Muiznieks, the author of several anti-nationalist publications, not a surprising choice given the federalist nature of the Council of Europe.
Reference Report (PDF)..
Friday, 18 March 2011
Details of a UK operation to rebel-held Benghazi in Libya in which eight men - six reportedly SAS - were detained, have been disclosed to the BBC.
The BBC's Jon Leyne said witnesses saw six men in black overalls land in a helicopter near the city on Friday.
They were later seized when it was discovered they were carrying weapons.
State TV has played a tape where a man said to be the UK ambassador tells a rebel spokesman the team went to liaise with rebels on the National Council.
He carries on to say the group wanted to keep an eye on the humanitarian situation in Benghazi.
Defence Secretary Liam Fox said a small diplomatic team was in Benghazi and "they were in touch with them".
The BBC's security correspondent Gordon Corera says the SAS was believed to have been in Libya protecting diplomats rather than on a military mission.
The Sunday Times reported earlier that the unit was trying to put UK diplomats in touch with rebels trying to topple the Gaddafi regime.
In a statement, the MoD said: "We neither confirm nor deny the story and we do not comment on the special forces."
Jon Leyne, who is in Benghazi, said the men went to the compound of an agricultural company where they were challenged by Libyan guards and asked if they had weapons.
"Witnesses said that when the men's bags were checked they were found to contain arms, ammunition, explosives, maps and passports from at least four different nationalities.
"The witnesses said at that point all eight men were arrested and taken to an army base in Benghazi where they are being held by the opposition forces who control this area."