Belgian museum cancels Charlie Hebdo tribute following security concerns

By AFP
Published: January 23, 2015
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The exhibition was supposed to feature portraits of the murdered Charlie Hebdo cartoonists as well as the latest controversial cover that it published after the Paris attack. PHOTO: AFP

The exhibition was supposed to feature portraits of the murdered Charlie Hebdo cartoonists as well as the latest controversial cover that it published after the Paris attack. PHOTO: AFP

BRUSSELS: A Belgian museum dedicated to the creator of comic book hero Tintin said Thursday that security concerns had prompted it to cancel an exhibition honouring the murdered Charlie Hebdo magazine cartoonists.

The museum in Louvain-la-Neuve near Brussels said it took the decision on Wednesday after consulting with police who foiled an alleged extremist plot in Belgium last week.

“The police presented us with the nature of the potential risks we need to be attentive to,” said Nick Rodwell, director of the museum dedicated to the memory and works of Herge.

“We decided not to open our exhibition on Thursday morning insofar as it could raise the concerns of both museum staff and the residents of Louvain-la-Neuve,” he said in a statement.

The exhibition was supposed to feature portraits of the murdered Charlie Hebdo cartoonists as well as the latest controversial cover that it published after the Paris attack.

Rodwell, however, did not rule out reversing the decision if the alert level in Belgium decreases in the days and weeks ahead.

The government had raised the threat alert to three on a scale of four after police conducted a series of raids on January 15 to foil an extremist plot to kill Belgian police.

A week before the raids, two radicals had gunned down 12 people in an attack on Charlie Hebdo, a satirical magazine which had carried sacrilegious cartoons.

The cartoons of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) had triggered Muslim anger worldwide and sparked death threats from militant groups.

However, Belgian authorities have yet to establish any direct link between the plot in Belgium and the killing spree in Paris, which involved a third gunman who killed a policewoman and four Jewish hostages at a kosher supermarket.

All three gunmen were killed by police.

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