"Walen Buiten!" ("Walloons out!")

Background

This event from the Belgian history has happen in 1968 in the Dutch city of Leuven. It can be compared to the Little Rock case of the US history. It all began with a language conflict. The Dutch part of Belgium, namely Flanders, was becoming better on an economic point than the French part of Belgium, Wallonia, which had a very strong economy through the mining sites it had. Because of this decreasing economy that Wallonia went through, French speaking people wanted more autonomy to solve those problems. This led to the strikes of 1960. The first strike was launched by André Renard, a leader of the Socialist party, on the 20th of December. Massive strikes continued until the 23rd of January 1961. The government started to reform in 1962 to give more independence to each language region but it wasn't enough to calm the tension between Wallonia and Flanders.

November 5th 1967

On this day, 30.000 persons from Flanders go down the streets in Antwerpen to protest against the French students at University of Leuven. After this protest, students from the university itself decided to make strikes. The protestations becomes more and more violent. They finally calmed down in September 1968 when the administration announced that a new University will be built for the French students.

Louvain-la-Neuve

The first consequence to those events was the construction of a new Universty in the province of Namur. Louvain-la-Neuve, which can be translated by Leuven-the-New, is a city founded around the University. They founded this city to powered by the University. The university opens on the 20th of October 1972 even though the campus wasn't over yet. They had to open as soon as possible because the French students from the University of Leuven had nowhere to study since 1968.

Fun fact: Louvain-la-Neuve is the first city in Belgium to have a street structure as a grid. All the other cities were built on a medieval model, around a center and growing circularly to be protected by city walls.

State reform

The second consequence was a reform in the Belgian government. What happened was that the they created a government for each language region and 3 geographical region. Then there are government for each province, those can be compared to states in the US in a way smaller scale. Each different type of government had control about a different aspect of the society. For example, the public transports are handled by geographical region but the education is handled by the language regions. Here is a video which can help better understand the very complicated Belgian political system.

Influences

It had very big influence on today's society because since then the government has not changed or just slightly. Also since the University of Louvain-la-Neuve was built in 1972, it became one of the best University of Belgium. Also since the government reform, there has been no tension anymore between Wallonia and Flanders on a language level. The only tension that remains comes from Flanders extremists that want to make of Flanders a country on its own because they think they pay more taxes because Wallonia has a bad economy.

Little Rock - Arkansas

The case of Little Rock is about the government integration of Black student in a High School for white students to end segregation. On the first day of school, 9 black students, later called the "Little Rock 9", arrived at the school but thousands of people blocked them the aces to the school. Days after days, people protesting in front of Central High School has growing and the manifestations became violent. To make the government's decision to allow the black students attend that school, the president sent the 101st airborne division. They were escorting the students inside the school and making the order in the protestation. This is the first time a school accepted black students but it was not the last because it launched the integration of black students in schools all over the US.

Similarities.

Between the Belgian college case and the Central High School case, there are a lot of similarities. First, in both cases, citizens marched to protest the entrance of students in a school and in both cases those protests became violent. Therefore the government had to interfere with it. Then the cases led to a reform in the government. In Arkansas it led to the desegregation in laws and in Belgium to creating new governments for each region. A difference between the cases is that in Arkansas the student could stay in the school while in Leuven, the students had to leave the school and stayed without education during 3 years.

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