Belgian police out in force for Flemish demo

BRUSSELS, Sept 18, 2011 (AFP) - Gundreds of policen backed by anti-riot water trucks and helicopters were deployed Sunday outside Brussels ahead of a planned demonstration by Flemish separatists.

Supporters of the New Flemish Alliance, which won the June 2010 legislative elections, are not taking part in negotiations to end a political crisis that has left the country without a government for more than a year.

Belgian media said around 3,000 demonstrators were expected in Linkebeek, on the outskirts of the capital.

Flemish separatists hope to benefit from another collapse in talks despite last week's announcement of a breakthrough.

The negotiators reached a compromise on the sensitive issue of Brussels and its suburbs, the only bilingual electoral district in the country and the source of deep divisions between Flemish and French-speaking politicians.

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