Brussels: Mind your manners, or cough up

2012-09-04 15:00

Brussels - The people of the Belgian capital will have to mind their manners carefully from now on, with the city authorities ready to levy fines of up to €250 for insults traded on the streets.

"Any form of insult is from now on punishable, whether it be racist, homophobic or otherwise," a spokesperson on Tuesday quoted Socialist mayor Freddy Thielemans as saying.

Brussels, home to the EU and many top international institutions, is known for its family-friendly and cultivated lifestyle but the mayor wants to crack down on the everyday unpleasantness found in any big city.

To do so, officials came to an agreement with judicial authorities to impose fines of between €75 and €250 for insults, petty theft and rough jostling where no physical harm is caused.

The spokesperson for the mayor said the courts up to now had been too busy to take up such cases and as a result many police "had little incentive to take any action over such incidents".

The issue was highlighted in a recent film by Belgian director Sofie Peeters who recorded in secret the everyday insults and exchanges she ran into on the streets of the city.

  • fidel.mgoqi - 2012-09-04 15:42

    SA should introduce these laws in the Cape Flats!

      tommo.too - 2012-09-05 00:26

      Ag nee wat. Then the Cape flats would empty of people.

  • andrew.arnesen - 2012-09-04 16:57

    And, er, excuse me, what about Freedom of Speech? It seems it is a misnomer in more ways than one. Next will be Freedom of Thought. Brussels law-makers are stupid, namby-pamby, meddling, woesies! To express frustration and anger by venting is much more preferable to bottling it up... These kinds of laws would increase domestic abuse because people will smile falsely and politely on the streets but be fuming inside and then get home to their spouse and not be subject to fines... Just a thought. Over-regulation of any sort is just plain dumb. Like these pompous asses.

  • duncan.gill1 - 2012-09-05 00:47


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