I've received death threats over Covid plans, says Bettel
Prime Minister Xavier Bettel has said he has received death threats and been forced to step up his personal protection following the announcement of government proposals to extend the CovidCheck scheme, as he urged people to "watch their tone" during a speech in parliament on Thursday.
In a fresh attempt to increase the vaccination rate, new legislation proposed by the government last week would give employers the option of demanding the CovidCheck certificate from their workers. If approved, employers would have the authority to withhold salaries from staff who refuse to comply, refuse them entry to the workplace, and even dismiss employees.
The proposals have come in for criticism from a range of bodies including trade unions and the parliament's de facto upper chamber, the State Council, which advises on legislation.
However, some people have gone way beyond the boundaries of normal debate, Bettel told deputies.
"I get death threats and I have to get police reinforcements because someone tells me he's going to kill me or is looking for another bullet and a gun," the prime minister said. "I’m telling you about the most unpleasant of those threats, threats that I have received in the last few days. Those people tell me to stop vaccinations. We've heard enough of it, and do not want to hear anything more about it."
“What we proposed last week brings me no joy. I’m convinced that many of you [the deputies] received messages over the last days that don’t wish us good things," he added, urging people to "watch their tone".
It is not the first time the prime minister has had to deal with such abuse. In 2015, a man who made death threats against Bettel on Facebook ahead of a referendum on extending voting rights to foreigners was given a suspended jail sentence.