Belgium’s leading virologist has faced threats from a far-right sniper.
Professor Marc Van Ranst has been living in a safehouse since May after he was targeted by soldier, Jürgen Conings, who is against lockdowns and is currently on the run from the police with a rocket launcher and a machine gun on his person.
Speaking to the BBC, Van Rast said he moved to the safehouse after he learnt that Conings stood outside his house for three hours, waiting for him to arrive home from work.
He said: “We’re not scared, we’re just being careful. And my 12-year-old my son Milo, he’s pretty brave about it.
“It is pretty surreal... the thing that makes me mad is that my son has been inside for almost three weeks. That, I really hate.”
He added: “If you’re on television a couple of times every day for months on end, people get sick and tired of you. That’s unavoidable. There are a group of people that hate science and hate scientists. Very often they are scared and uncertain.”
Conings has been on a terrorist watch list in Belgium because of his beliefs. Police have sealed off parks to search for him andBefore he left for Van Ranst’s house, he left a note expressing his hatred for virologists. It read:
“The so-called political elite and now also the virologists decide how you and I should live. They sow hatred and frustration. I cannot live with the lies.”
Meanwhile, a Facebook group was created for supporters of Conings which - before it was closed down - attracted some 50,000 members.
Speaking about the group, Van Rast said:
“These are real people, who really think this man is a hero and that I deserve to die. They are people, living in your neighbourhood, who wage bets on exactly when and with how many bullets he will murder me.”