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Police disruption to conservative conference in Belgium was ‘dark mark on European democracy’

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Paul Coleman, executive director of ADF International and a speaker at the conference, outside the venue while it was barricaded.(Photo: Alliance Defending Freedom)

A Christian group has criticised the actions of authorities in Belgium who brought a conservative conference attended by Nigel Farage and Suella Braverman to a halt. 

High profile delegates at the two-day Conference on National Conservatism also included Miriam Cates MP, German Cardinal Ludwig Müller, and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán. 

Brussels mayor Emir Kir had attempted to shut it down on the grounds that it endangered public safety. Police barricaded the venue and prevented people from entering after authorities demanded that it be “cancelled”, citing “ethically conservative” beliefs on abortion, marriage and the EU. 

Belgian Prime Minister Alexander de Croo called it an “unacceptable” breach of the country’s constitution.

The conference was able to go ahead after the Conseil d’État, the highest court in Belgium relating to issues of public administration, ruled in its favour. 

Christian group, the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), which supported the emergency late night legal challenge by organisers, said the conference should never have been cancelled. 

Paul Coleman, executive director of ADF International and a speaker at the conference, called the court ruling a victory for free speech.

“In allowing the National Conservatism Conference to continue, the Administrative Court has come down on the side of basic human rights,” he said.

“While common sense and justice have prevailed, what happened yesterday is a dark mark on European democracy. No official should have the power to shut down free and peaceful assembly merely because he disagrees with what is being said.

“How can Brussels claim to be the heart of Europe if its officials only allow one side of the European conversation to be heard?

“The kind of authoritarian censorship we have just witnessed belongs in the worst chapters of Europe’s history.

“Thankfully, the court has acted swiftly to prevent the repression of our fundamental freedoms to both assembly and speech, thus protecting these essential characteristics of democracy for another day.”





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