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Friday, 24 April, 1998, 21:50 GMT 22:50 UK
Protests over paedophile escape
Protetsters outside Brussels' Court of Justice
Demonstrations have been taking place Brussels as demands grow for heads to roll over the escape of a notorious paedophile and alleged serial killer.

Marc Dutroux was recaptured after three and a half hours on the run on Thursday. He was caught on foot less than 10km south-west of the town where he had escaped.

Dutroux after his arrest in 1996
Dutroux after his arrest in 1996
The convicted paedophile had overpowered his guard at the town's law courts, where he was examining papers relating to his impending trial for the kidnap and murder of several children.

Organisers of the public protests on Friday said the police chief Willy Derrider was more responsible for the escape than the justice and interior ministers who have both already resigned over the incident.

Mass demonstrations have also been called for throughout the weekend as the pressure mounts on Prime Minister Jean-Luc Dehaene for his entire government to step down.

Protest march
Thousands took to the streets in the 'White March'
The opposition is also planning a vote of no confidence next week.

The Belgian public has already proven that it can turn out in force on this issue.

Public anger over the handling of Marc Dutroux's case brought a quarter of a million people on to the streets of Brussels in October 1996 in the so-called 'White March'.

An official report by the Belgian parliament exonerated police officers of protecting Dutroux directly, but said the investigation into his activities was handled so badly that, in effect, he enjoyed "indirect protection".

See also:

23 Apr 98 | Europe
Belgium in mourning
24 Apr 98 | Europe
European bid to protect children
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