Fascism In Belgium
Sunday 25th October 1936
The Belgian Rexist party attempted to stage a major demonstration, which might have prefigured some kind of coup. The Rexists were quite openly Fascist, but, unusually, espoused a militant version of Catholicism. Their name referred to “Christ the King” rather than more parochial forms of royalty. They had emerged as the largest political party in the spring’s elections. They drew support mainly from French speakers, but also, again unusually, from Flemish speakers.
Extensive government counter-measures blocked plans to stage an immense demonstration, but an impromptu effort on the Place St Gudule in Brussels led to violence. The Place was cleared by mounted gendarmes with drawn sabres and counter demonstrations by Socialists and Communists ended in bloodshed. Degrelle and two of his main lieutenants were arrested but rapidly released.