Belgian 'anti-vaxxers' throw Molotov cocktail at pro-vaccine MEP’s home with his children asleep

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·5-min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
(Pascal Arimont/Facebook)
Belgian MEP Pascal Arimont's family home was targeted by anti-vaxxers. (Pascal Arimont/Facebook)

A Belgium politician has said he believes anti-vaxxers threw a Molotov cocktail at his home after he said vaccinations were the way out of the coronavirus crisis.

Pascal Arimont, an MEP for the Christian Social Party, used a Facebook post to condemn the attack outside his house.

The fire bomb was thrown at his home in Büllingen on Saturday, said the MEP, who has made a complaint to police.

The attackers also used spray paint to write a threat across his garage door.

When translated, it read: “Lying, blackmailing, inciting hatred, dividing… you will pay for it”.

(Pascal Arimont/Facebook)
A hate message spray painted on MEP Pascal Arimont's garage read: 'Lying, blackmailing, inciting hatred, dividing… you will pay for it'. (Pascal Arimont/Facebook)

Arimont said it is not the first time his home has been targeted by anti-vaxxers, saying his gate has previously been covered with red paint.

The MEP said he had found the Molotov cocktail 1m under the windows of the bedrooms where his children sleep.

Arimont called the attackers “cowardly”.

Watch: Riot police deploy tear gas and water cannon in Brussels at anti-lockdown protest

He wrote: “I can handle criticism. I can stand someone criticising me or my work. What has happened now is going too far. Way too far.

“My family and I had hate speech sprayed on the garage door of our house last night. This is already an act that should be condemned in the most harsh way, since an important line of freedom of expression and criticism has been crossed. 

“But we also found a Molotov cocktail that was deliberately thrown at our facade at night, a metre under the windows where our kids sleep. I am speechless and terrified.

Read more: Omicron outbreak at Norway Christmas party is ‘biggest outside South Africa’

“My family and I have to fear for our lives now because I am not allowed to have my opinion? 

“I myself am vaccinated, but I have always spoken out against a general mandatory vaccination. 

“They call me a 'coward'. But how cowardly is it to want to start an arson in a house where children are sleeping?

“I will have to protect my wife, my children and also myself. I hope the police will find the perpetrator.”

The attack came two days after Arimont had posted a message on Facebook in which he backed the scientific approach in the fight against the spread of coronavirus.

Arimont told Belgian news site VRT he thought the attack was liked to his post. "I wrote a text about that on my Facebook page on Friday. My house is attacked the day after that, so for to me there seems to be a clear connection," he said.

A number of MEPs tweeted messages of support for Arimont after the attack.

David Sassoli, president of the European Parliament, wrote: “The whole European Parliament stands in solidarity with MEP Pascal Arimont after the cowardly attack on his family home.

“We will never tolerate this kind of hatred. In a democracy, disagreement must be solved with words, not violence. Those responsible must be brought to justice.”

Maltese MEP Roberta Metsola said: “All my solidarity and support to MEP Pascal Arimont and his family after their home was vandalised and a Molotov cocktail thrown under their children's bedroom.

“It is shocking and horrific. We must be united against hate and extremism. I hope the culprits are brought swiftly to justice.”

Belgian MEP Guy Verhofstadt said on Twitter the attack was “totally unacceptable”.

He wrote: “Times are hard, politicians need to make hard decisions. No one is helped by violence and intimidation against politicians.”

According to the University of Oxford’s research platform, Our World in Data, Belgium currently has one of the highest rates of coronavirus in Europe, with 1,545 cases per one million people as of Sunday, based on a seven-day rolling average.

Protesters light flares in front of riot police as clashes erupt during a demonstration against Belgian government's measures to curb the spread of the Covid-19 and mandatory vaccination in Brussels on December 5, 2021.  Belgian schools will require children aged six and above to wear masks because of
Protesters light flares in front of riot police as clashes erupt during a demonstration against COVID measures in Brussels on Sunday. (AFP)
Police use water canons to disperse demonstrators during a demonstration against Belgian government's measures to curb the spread of the Covid-19 and mandatory vaccination in Brussels on December 5, 2021.  Belgian schools will require children aged six and above to wear masks because of
Police use water canons to disperse anti-lockdown demonstrators in Brussels, Belgium, on Sunday. (AFP)
Belgian riot police stand in position as clashes erupt during a demonstration against Belgian government's measures to curb the spread of the Covid-19 and mandatory vaccination in Brussels on December 5, 2021.  Belgian schools will require children aged six and above to wear masks because of
Belgian riot police stand in position as clashes erupt during an anti-COVID lockdown demonstration in Brussels on Sunday. (AFP)

Only Andorra, with 2,397 cases per million, and Slovakia, with 2,046 per million, have higher COVID-19 rates.

On Sunday, police fired tear gas and water cannons at protesters in Brussels during demonstrations against the country’s coronavirus restrictions.

The protest was against restrictions introduced in October that mean people must show COVID-19 passes to enter bars and restaurants.

Read more: Omicron ‘could make up half of all EU cases’ in coming months

Last Friday, Belgium’s government announced new measures, including mandatory masks for children aged six and over, and an extension of the school holidays. It was the third week in a row that restrictions have been tightened, but the country is not in lockdown.

About 75% of the adult population in Belgium have had two COVID-19 jabs, one of the highest rates in the EU, while the government has promised that four million people will have had boosters by the end of this year.

Last month, dozens were arrested after protests against Belgium's COVID-19 restrictions that were attended by more than 35,000 people turned violent in Brussels.

Watch: Dozens arrested as anti-COVID restrictions demonstrations in Belgium turn violent

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting