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Police remove 'illegally placed' posters featuring Prophet Muhammad
Posters featuring caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad by the French cartoonist Charb were put up in various places in Brussels last week. The posters appeared in the streets after the brutal murder of a teacher in France who showed the cartoons. The police have since removed the posters. “The caricatures themselves are not punishable, but the infringement here is illegal flyposting,” a police spokesperson said.
A poster featuring a cartoon by Charb with the words “Et le cul de Mohammed, on a le droit?” (“And the ass of Muhammad, can we show it?”) was removed from Rue du Trône in the city centre on Monday. Similar posters surfaced in several other places across the city over the past week.
“We have informed the public prosecutor about the fact that these posters are there, but this is not a criminal offence”, a spokesperson for the Brussels Capital-Ixelles/Elsene police zone said. Regardless, the posters have been removed and the police continue to watch for any new ones surfacing.
“The caricatures themselves are absolutely not punishable, but the infringement here is illegal bill-posting. You can't put up a poster until you have permission from the relevant municipal government,” the spokesperson added. “We remove the posters and transfer them to the waste department of the City of Brussels, as we do with all illegal posters." The people who put up the posters, if caught, face a fine.
Charb, or Stéphane Charbonnier, was a cartoonist for the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo. He was one of the victims of the terrorist attack on the magazine's headquarters in Paris on January 7, 2015. Posters with his cartoons surfaced in the Brussels street scene last week after history teacher Samuel Paty was beheaded by a terrorist in Paris last Friday for showing two cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad during a free speech lesson.