Belgian PM left smelling of mayo after fries attack

  • Updated: Dec 22, 2014 20:37 IST

Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel was bombarded with French fries and squirted with mayonnaise on Monday by ex-Femen activists angry at the governement's austerity plans.

"Michel get out, austerity get out," cried the four activists as the 38-year-old premier was beginning a speech in the southern city of Namur, according to several media present.

French fries, or chips in Britain, are a Belgian speciality, often served with a heavy dollop of mayonnaise.

The women, wearing masks and fully dressed unlike the usually topless Femen activists, were swiftly tackled by security personnel as Michel looked on, smiling in a mayo-stained suit.

After the incident, he restarted his speech apologising "that I smell of mayonnaise".

The young premier, who took office in October, leads a coalition that intends to raise the retirement age in Belgium to 67, scrap plans for a usually automatic cost-of-living raise next year and introduce public sector cutbacks.

The plans sparked several rounds of strikes and demonstrations in the past weeks, including a march of more than 100,000 people in Brussels, which ended in violent protests that left dozens of police officers injured.

Food-related protests are a Belgian speciality.

In recent years, some of the world's most powerful leaders, including former French president Nicolas Sarkozy and billionaire Microsoft founder Bill Gates, have received a custard pie in the face while on visits to the country.

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