Belgium police hold 17 in ‘plot’

Seventeen people have been arrested in Belgium for allegedly planning attacks aimed at “destabilising” the country’s institutions, Belgian prosecutors say.

The federal prosecutor’s office, which is not limited by the sort of pre-trial restrictions in force in Britain, described the arrested people as mainly “soldiers and people with an extreme right ideology who clearly express themselves through racism, xenophobia, Holocaust denial, anti-semitism and neo-Nazism”.

The main suspect, who is a member of the neo-Nazi Blood and Honour Flanders group, recruited in military bases throughout Flanders, the Flemish-speaking half of Belgium.

The arrests are likely to have a strong impact in Belgium, where mainstream politicians are bracing themselves for significant advances by the hard-right Vlaams Belang party in next month’s local elections. The party insists it is non-violent, however, and distances itself from neo-Nazis.

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