Belgian politics is under the spell of a “peeing incident”, centered on Belgian Justice Minister Vincent van Quickenborne (Open VLD). At a minister's party, guests repeatedly urinated against a police car. This was reported on Tuesday by the Flemish television channel VRT, which saw the images from the cameras. The minister himself is also visible in the footage, but he says he knows nothing of his urinating guests.
On Thursday, Van Quickenborne will have to report the incident to a parliamentary committee. Opposition parties have already suggested that Van Quickenborne enter the mat. The Vlaams Belang already wanted the dismissal of the minister on Monday evening.
The pee riot particularly strikes a chord, as last year an attempt to kidnap the minister was foiled. Van Quickenborne has been living under police protection ever since. The minister and his family had to hide, then hide at a secret address. They are always protected, which is why there is a police car in front of their house.
On August 14, Van Quickenborne will celebrate its fiftieth anniversary late into the night. According to VRT, footage shows how three men come out at around half past eight and walk towards the empty police car. Two of the three men urinate against the car, a third films the scene. After the men are done, they both get in the car. This time the third person takes a picture. Footage shows the men laughing loudly.
Shortly after ten o'clock, one of the two men who had already peed on the car came out again to – again – pee on the vehicle. A few minutes after midnight, six people are visible outside. The man who had peed twice against the car so far does so a third time and then also opens the door. Another man kicks the bumper of the car.
At four o'clock in the morning, Minister Van Quickenborne himself appears for the first time in the photo. According to the VRT, the minister is seen standing on the sidewalk with another man, leaning back and making gestures as if he were going to pee. Then he also opens the door of the police car.
Text and explanation
Van Quickenborne maintains he knew nothing about the urination incident until the media became involved. The minister tells the VRT that he still remembers this moment at four in the morning, because he accompanied his last guests outside. But “the interpretations that exist of these images are not correct,” says Van Quickenborne.
The minister says it is possible that he made “certain gestures”, but that it cannot be concluded that he was aware of the incidents that occurred earlier in the evening. He actually opened the door of the police car and then locked it properly, according to the minister.
Nevertheless, the chairman of the committee, Kristien Van Vaerenbergh (N-VA), decided to convene the parliamentary committee and ask Van Quickenborne for an explanation. “These are the people who protect the minister day and night and who deserve his utmost respect,” Van Vaerenbergh told VRT. “If it turns out that he made incorrect statements about the incident, he simply cannot stay.”