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(ED) Mayor Jack Mikkers should not have banned the Eritrean conference in Veldhoven last year. That is what the Den Bosch District Court says

Posted by: Semere Asmelash

Date: Thursday, 14 June 2018

VELDHOVEN - Demonstration at Koningshof
VELDHOVEN - Demonstration at Koningshof © Jean Pierre Reijnen

Ban Eritrean conference was unjustified

DEN BOSCH - Mayor Jack Mikkers should not have banned the Eritrean conference in Veldhoven last year. That is what the Den Bosch District Court says. 

Diede Hoekstra 14-06-18, 17:59 Last update: 18:13 

The police have a broader task nationally than just maintaining public order in Veldhoven.' With those words from a team chief of the police, Mayor Jack Mikkers abandoned himself in April last year when he decided to ban the three-day  Eritrean conference at conference hotel Koningshof. The court in Den Bosch ruled on Thursday that Mikkers did not make sufficient efforts to continue the conference despite serious disruptions of public order. For example, the mayor should have asked the police more explicitly whether extra police deployment was available and when it could be on the spot.

The conference in Koningshof was organized by the Dutch Eritrean Foundation  for the Youth People's Front of Democracy and Justice (YPFDJ). That is the youth branch of the only permitted political party in Eritrea. Yermane Gebreab, adviser to the Eritrean president, would be the guest of honor. That was wrong with Kubrom Dafla Hosabay. This former Deputy Minister of Finance of Eritrea fled to the Netherlands in 2009 and called for a protest against the arrival of Gebreab. Almost 130 Eritreans gathered on the 13th of April, one day before the start of the conference, in front of the Koningshof entrance. 

VELDHOVEN - Demonstration at Koningshof in April 2017
VELDHOVEN - Demonstration at Koningshof in April 2017 © Jean Pierre Reijnen

In the hours that followed, the situation got seriously out of hand. At the beginning of the evening, the police ordered the demonstrators to leave. When this did not happen, about 120 demonstrators were arrested. Reports on social media about new demonstrations and a negative advice from the police subsequently led Mikkers to ban the conference by means of an emergency order. 

The mayor should have checked how many additional agents were needed and within what period they would be available

Court of Den Bosch

According to the court, the risk of serious disorder may be a reason to issue an emergency order and the advice of the police may weigh heavily in this decision. But that does not alter the fact that the mayor must first assess whether there are reasonable alternatives to the emergency order, according to the court. Mikkers should have checked how many additional agents were needed and within what period they would be available. According to the court, a report from the complaints committee shows that Mikkers did not consider these questions 'irrelevant'. The report also shows that the team chief of the police told the mayor that extra effort was time-consuming and should be viewed with the necessary sense of reality. Statements that should have prompted Mikkers for further questions, the court states. And that did not happen.

Bart-Jan Walraven, lawyer of the  Eritrees Platform is satisfied with the ruling. He expects his client to also take a case in the short term to recover the financial loss suffered from the municipality of Veldhoven. "Then you have to think about an amount of about two tons."
(Software translation)
Verbod Eritrese conferentie was onterecht

Judge says that emergency order ban Eritrean conference Veldhoven was unjustified 

Photo: ANP
Published: June 14, 2018 17:32Last update: June 14, 2018 17:42

The judge in Den Bosch has ruled that the mayor of Veldhoven should not have issued an emergency order to ban the multi-day conference of the foundation Dutch Eritrean Platform.  

It was a meeting between 14 and 16 April 2017 of the youth organization of the regime in the African country.

Because of stark protests from opponents of the government in Eritrea, the mayor forbade the conference even before it had started.

The judge finds that the mayor should have gathered more information for issuing an emergency order.

The foundation and the conference participants had stepped to court, among other things to be able to file a compensation. They can now proceed further for compensation.

The conference would be held in a conference center in Veldhoven. A day before it would start, a bus with demonstrators arrived at the center and broke out.

Approximately 120 people were arrested by the police, then the mayor issued an emergency order that the conference should not go ahead.

Rechter zegt dat noodbevel verbod Eritrese conferentie Veldhoven onterecht was

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