As calls for the break-up of Belgium along its linguistic divide grows ever louder, up to 1,000 people took to the streets of the capital on the anniversary of the country’s independence to march in favour of unity. One pro-unity demonstrator said: “In Belgium, for the moment, we are in crisis. It’s a pseudo-political crisis organised by lunatics. No more, no less. It’s about power and will bring nothing but misery. Hands off Belgium!”
The calls for a split come three months after a general election that failed to deliver a new government. Yves Leterme’s Flemish Christian Democrats gained the most seats but failed to cobble together a coalition as the French speakers of Wallonia objected to Flemish calls for more local control of taxes and social security.
Yves Leterme quit and the country’s King Albert II declared a crises charging political veteran Herman van Rompuy to explore possible compromises.