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Showdown in Brussels

Updated: 3 hours ago

Leftists retreat, rule of law prevails – for now



A “new updated form of communism” is rearing its head in the heart of the European Union. That what’s Brexit architect Nigel Farage, called the Leftist forces set on shutting down the National Conservatism (NatCon) Conference in Brussels, Belgium last week.


Farage was on stage when the far-left municipal mayor, Emir Kir, ordered armed police to shut down the event. Kir, a Muslim of Turkish heritage, admitted on X that his decision was meant to show that the “far-right is not welcome” in the de facto capital of Europe.


The mayor justified his order, saying, “[NatCon’s] vision is not only ethically conservative (e.g. hostility to the legalization of abortion, same-sex unions, etc.) but also focused on the defense of 'national sovereignty', which implies, amongst other things, a 'Eurosceptic' attitude.” 


The mayor was triggered that speakers “are reputed to be traditionalists” and claimed the conference would be a threat to "public order and peace.” 


NatCon 2024 attracted conservative luminaries from across Europe, including German cardinal Gerhard Müller, Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orbán, French presidential candidate Eric Zemmour, previous UK home secretary Suella Braverman and advocate for persecuted Christians, Fr. Benedict Kiely.

 

The conference, the theme of which was "Preserving the Nation-State in Europe," was just getting underway when police burst into the venue to deliver the order. But attendees already inside, refused to exit, forcing Kir's police to finesse a gradual shutdown by preventing access to those outside.


Cardinal Müller, shocked at police blocking the venue, likened the situation to something out of “Nazi Germany.” The 76-year-old former Vatican doctrine chief said, “They are like the SA [Nazi Storm Troopers],” according to journalist Rod Dreher, who was also in attendance.

"What just happened in Brussels this afternoon was a disgrace," Farage posted on X. "For the Mayor and police to shut down a peaceful political event makes me more convinced of Brexit than ever."


Likewise, Orbán, who grew up under Communism and has vast experience with Marxist maneuvers, posted, “The Belgian police decided to shut down the @NatConTalk conference in #Brussels, just two hours after it started. I guess they couldn’t take free speech any longer. The last time they wanted to silence me with the police was when the Communists set them on me in ‘88 [the time right before the collapse of Marxist governments in the Eastern Bloc]."


"We didn’t give up then and we will not give up this time either,” the Hungarian prime minister added.


Conference organizers also filed an emergency legal challenge, with support from Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) International, against the mayor’s diktat. British attorney Paul Coleman, Executive Director of ADF International and a conference speaker, argued, “it is contrary to the fundamental rights to freedom of speech and freedom of assembly — the pillars of truly democratic societies.”


Hours after the conference was suspended, Belgium's highest court sided with NatCon, issuing an emergency ruling allowing the event to proceed


The court decided that Kir acted "unconstitutionally" and that his public safety concerns arose from conference opponents (like Antifa), rather than conference attendees themselves.


According to the ruling, “it does not seem possible to infer from the contested decision that a peace-disrupting effect is attributed to the congress itself” and “the threat to public order seems to be derived purely from the reactions that its organization might provoke among opponents.”


Kir's communist overreach came after the NatCon conference had already been booted out of two previous hotel venues — the result of other leftist city officials pressuring the sites to cancel bookings, less than a week before the event.


The Concert Noble venue, which hosted the 2022 NatCon conference, cancelled this year’s event after it had been scheduled. Later, a replacement venue, the Sofitel Brussels, broke a written contract with conference organizers, alleging that people affiliated with the European Union, who were scheduled to stay at the hotel, objected.


A city official responsible for the sector in which the Sofitel is located bragged to The Brussels Times that he was responsible for the cancellation.


"I was warned by the press about the nature of the event and the people who were coming," he said. "I informed the local police authorities, who contacted Sofitel and the management decided to cancel the event."


Kir's attempt to quash NatCon was condemned, even by liberals, including Belgian prime minister Alexander De Croo.


"What happened at the Claridge today is unacceptable. Municipal autonomy is a cornerstone of our democracy but can never overrule the Belgian constitution guaranteeing the freedom of speech and peaceful assembly since 1830. Banning political meetings is unconstitutional. Full stop," he posted.


A geopolitical analyst at the Hungarian Center for Fundamental Rights blasted the prime minister: "You should have done this days ago. Now tell the Minister of the Interior, to order his thugs dressed in police uniform to back off."


Others were also suspicious of De Croo's motivations, many seeing them as his playing good cop to Kir's bad.


Conference chairman Yoram Hazony of the Edmund Burke Foundation saw another motive — damage control ahead of the upcoming European Union elections.


"With less than two months to the heavily contested European Parliamentary elections, the last thing they want is fifty of the most prominent national conservatives in Europe making the case against the leftist-controlled EU," he said.


In June, 400 million people across 27 EU countries will vote in European parliamentary elections, with the ongoing war in Ukraine, relentless illegal immigration, and common folk struggling to keep fed and warm as a backdrop. Polls are suggesting that so-called far-right parties will make big gains in parliament — a prospect that's making the Brussels elite nervous.


“In a way, I’m grateful for what happened, especially as Europe heads into EU parliamentary elections,” Dreher said. “Voters need to know exactly what their future will be if these cretins aren’t stopped ... This has been a shocking event with profound repercussions for liberty in Europe.”

In a post-conference statement, Cdl. Müller stressed that he attended NatCon as a theologian, not a politician. The respected prelate added, “[A]nyone who is not blinded by totalitarian ideology ... should know that the Judeo-Christian tradition of Europe is the best means of protection against the attack on fundamental human rights and the slide of pluralist democracies into totalitarian systems of rule.”


Dr. Barbara Toth has a doctorate in rhetoric and composition from Bowling Green State University. She has taught at universities in the US, China and Saudi Arabia. Her work in setting up a writing center at Princess Nourah bint Abdulrahmen University, an all-women's university in Riyadh, has been cited in American journals. Toth has published academic and non-academic articles and poems internationally.


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3 टिप्पणियां


What's this have to do with out Country?

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coyote_jack
coyote_jack
24 अप्रैल
को जवाब दे रहे हैं

Similar to a house-fire across the street with strong, variable winds.

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Abigail Smith
Abigail Smith
23 अप्रैल

Great report! I pray the upcoming EU elections will not be rigged.

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