Intelligence agencies concerned about neo-Nazis at far-right event in Flanders
European intelligence agencies have expressed their concern about the presence of neo-Nazis at the IJzerwake, a far-right event in Ypres, Flanders. This writes Het Nieuwsblad on Tuesday. Even though the agencies consider the event a far-right threat, it was nevertheless given permission by the city, which will reconsider the permit today.
The IJzerwake is based on the IJzerbedevaart, an annual gathering of the Flemish Movement in Ypres to remember the fallen Flemish soldiers in WWI and discuss Flemish political autonomy. This event was considered too moderate by some Flemish nationalists, who organized the first IJzerwake in 2003. Since then, it has become more radicalized every year.
The IJzerwake has invited many controversial guests in recent years. For example, convicted neo-Nazi Tomas Boutens attended in 2021. This year the organizers are hosting their own music festival called Frontnacht. Several attending bands are on government watchlists and are suspected of connections with neofascist movements.
The intelligence agencies expect neo-Nazis from all over Europe to attend the event, which will take place on August 27 and 28. According to Het Nieuwsblad, local police is concerned about its lack of manpower to properly manage the IJzerwake. Due to growing criticism, Ypres, which is internationally known as a "city of peace", is reconsidering their permit today.
Last year's edition of the IJzerwake. - © BELGA PHOTO NICOLAS MAETERLINCK