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(NOS) Council of State: Mayor was not allowed to prohibit Eritreans conference

Posted by: Semere Asmelash

Date: Wednesday, 21 August 2019

Emergency order Eritrean conference wrongly

Emergency order Eritrean conference wrongly
THE HAGUE
In May 2017, the mayor of Veldhoven should not have forbidden a multi-day conference of the Dutch Eritrean Platform foundation with an emergency order. The Council of State comes to the same verdict on Wednesday as the court in Den Bosch last year.
The police intervened in a demonstration by Eritreans in Veldhoven ANP

It was a meeting of the youth organization of the controversial regime in the African country. Among others, a close advisor to the president of Eritrea would speak. Opponents demonstrated at the convention center the day before the conference. The police had to intervene. It became clear that a large group of demonstrators would come to the conference later. The convention center was difficult to secure and the presence of diplomats and representatives of the Eritrean government made the security situation even more complicated.

However, according to the Council of State, the mayor has not been sufficiently informed about the options for taking extra security measures, for example the use of more agents. "The Netherlands has the constitutional right to freedom of assembly. That means that meetings that raise resistance in a part of society may also take place and must be protected as much as possible," according to the Council of State.

Council of State: Mayor was not allowed to prohibit Eritreans conference

 TODAY, 11:55 AM 
The police intervened during the demonstration against the Eritrean meeting in Veldhoven ANP

Two years ago, the mayor of Veldhoven was not allowed to ban a conference of Eritrean youth with an emergency order. He should have gathered more information to assess whether the situation would be manageable, the Council of State says.

The court and the objections committee of the municipality have come to the same conclusion earlier.

The then mayor Mikkers prohibited the meeting of the youth organization YPFDJ in the Koningshof conference center, because riots had broken out at the gate the day before. According to him, there was a threat to public order.

Confidant of the gov.

At the meeting, the closest adviser and confidant would speak to dictator Afewerki of Eritrea. They wanted to encourage young Eritreans who fled their country to commit themselves to their mother country.

The Council of State understands that the mayor was afraid that the situation would get out of hand, but he should not have forbidden the conference with an emergency order. Due to the constitutional right to freedom of assembly, meetings that create resistance in society must also be protected.

Enable more agents

"In this case, the mayor has not been sufficiently informed about the possibilities of continuing the conference with extra security measures, for example by involving more police officers," concludes the Council of State.

The Council of State is the highest administrative court in the Netherlands and decides in cases involving the government.

Former mayor Mikkers van Veldhoven is now mayor of Den Bosch.










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