Belgian police racism, Sassoli speaks: “MEP attacked only for the color of her skin, scandalous”


BERLIN – Yesterday morning at dawn he called her the leader of the European Greens, Ska Keller, to tell him about the racist episode suffered by his colleague Pierrette Herzberger-Fofana, attacked by the Belgian police. “I was frozen, I immediately offered to have her open the plenary”. So David Sassoli remember on the phone with Republic yesterday’s debut, marked by racist violence suffered by a member of the Greens on Tuesday evening, in the heart of Brussels. “A serious and unpleasant episode which I also asked the Belgian Prime Minister for, Sophie Wilmés“. This morning the President of the European Parliament sent Wilmés a letter – che Republic he was able to preview – to ask about the mistreatment inflicted by the Belgian police on the black parliamentarian elected in Germany. “Please take immediate and necessary measures,” Sassoli writes to Wilmés condemning “firmly the immeasurable use of violence, in particular by the police”.

The letter from the President of the European Parliament David Sassoli to the Belgian Prime Minister Sophie Wilmes

For the colleague of Herzberger-Fofana, the former German Greens spitzenkandidat in the European Parliament, Sven Giegold, “it takes a serious clarification on the attack, and there must be serious consequences for those agents. The Belgian police must ask themselves how to defuse racism. Belgium is the host country of the European institutions, it must have a non-discriminatory police, which is particularly exemplary “.

The aggression of the police

In an attempt to defend two black men surrounded by nine Belgian policemen who were mistreating them, Herzberger-Fofana she was slammed against the wall and brutally searched. And his attempts to show the European Parliamentary pass and his German passport have failed. “Pierrette told me last night that the cops even made fun of her, they said ‘Ah yes? And who knows what you’ll ever do in Parliament?’ They did not believe that a black woman could be a European parliamentarian. Scandalous, “comments Sassoli.

Herzberger-Fofana was saved from the arrival of Parliament’s car, she adds: “It is only then that they stopped treating her badly as if she boasted a status she didn’t have.” A further detail will also have to be clarified, stresses the President of the European Parliament: “The four policemen who were attacking the parliamentary colleague at a certain point noticed a man who was observing the scene and threatened him: ‘Shut up’. Unfortunately for them, he was a human rights lawyer who denounced them for intimidation. “



Belgium ready to try its colonialist past and the crimes of Leopold II in the Congo

The debate on racism in the European Parliament

On the agenda of yesterday’s plenary there was precisely the debate on George Floyd and racism, Herzberger-Fofana opened the session by telling the attack immediately. He also wanted to be present at the debate Ursula von der Leyen, president of the EU Commission. “It was not obvious”, Sassoli observes, “you can see that he was very keen to attend the discussion on racism”.The question, however, is: what can be done against racism, what commitment can the President of the EU Parliament make? According to Sassoli “there must be greater involvement of minorities also in the institutions. We must improve the selection mechanisms, guarantee access to all. We must reflect on this”.

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