Flemish minister quits over false climate protest claim

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    A Flemish minister resigned Tuesday after admitting she made a false claim about recent demonstrations for action on climate change.

    Joke Schauvliege, Flanders’ minister for agriculture and the environment, had said Belgium’s state security service told her other forces were behind the protests.

    She held a press conference Tuesday at which she announced her resignation.

    In recent weeks, thousands of Belgian high school pupils have been skipping classes every Thursday to protest against the country’s climate policies. Brussels has also hosted two major Sunday marches on the same issue, with a combined attendance of 135,000 people.

    Many of the protesters targeted Schauvliege, one of four Belgian ministers responsible for climate policy, who is often accused of having a poor record on the issue.

    “I know who is behind this whole movement, both the Sunday protests and the truants on Thursday — I was also told this by State Security — so I can guarantee you that I don’t just see ghosts but that there is more behind it than spontaneous action of solidarity for our climate,” she told a farmers’ union meeting in the village of Lierde on Saturday.

    The minister was forced to admit her claim about the intelligence services was untrue after facing an outcry over her remarks. She said she had made a mistake under pressure. Green and far-right opposition parties called for her resignation.

    On Monday evening, Schauvliege conceded on Twitter that she had “expressed herself wrongly” about the security agency and apologized “to anyone who took offense.”

    https://www.politico.eu/article/flemish-minister-urged-to-quit-over-false-climate-protest-claim/