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Watch Your Mouth: Hurling Insults In Brussels Will Cost You

LE SOIR, RTBF (Belgium), LE FIGARO ( France)


BRUSSELS - Insulting someone on the streets of Brussels is now a civil offense that is punishable by a fine of up to 250 euros.

City authorities will now be able to impose fines of between 75 and 250 euros for insults, petty theft or other forms of minor physical harassment, Belgian daily Le Soir reported on Tuesday.

The mayor of Brussels and member of the Socialist party, Freddy Thielemans said: "All forms of insults are now punishable, whether they are sexist, racist, homophobic or other," Le Figaro reported.

The law has come in reaction to a video project, which made headlines in Belgium during July. Tired of being harassed by men, a young director named Sophie Peeters started to walk the streets of the European capital with a hidden camera.

The video shows her refusing offers that range from polite ("Can I offer you a drink?) to much less wholesome ("A drink or what? At my house of course, not in a café. A hotel, in bed, you know, direct"). The video (see below), which also shows groups of men making rude gestures and calling her a "whore," has provoked outrage in the capital.

Still, some feminist organizations think that monetary fines are not the best way to resolve the problem. Claudine Lienard, coordinator at the Université des Femmes told Le Soir: "It is clear that the fight against sexism is being played out on all levels but I think that prevention by education is more effective than repression."

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FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

Putin's "Pig-Like" Latvia Threat Is A Chilling Reminder Of What's At Stake In Ukraine

In the Ukraine war, Russia's military spending is as high as ever. Now the West is alarmed because the Kremlin leader is indirectly hinting at a possible attack on Latvia, a NATO member. It is a reminder of a growing danger to Europe.

Photo of Russian President Vladimir Putin

Russian President Vladimir Putin

Pavel Lokshin


BERLIN — Russian President Vladimir Putin sometimes chooses downright bizarre occasions to launch his threats against the West. It was at Monday's meeting of the Russian Human Rights Council, where Putin expressed a new, deep concern. It was not of course about the human rights of the thousands of political prisoners in his own country, but about the Russian population living in neighboring Latvia, which happens to be a NATO member, having to take language tests.

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