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( Mayor Veldhoven was not allowed to give an emergency order for ban Eritrean conference

Posted by: Semere Asmelash

Date: Thursday, 14 June 2018

Mayor Veldhoven was not allowed to give an emergency order for ban Eritrean conference

's-Hertogenbosch, 14 June 2018

The mayor of the municipality of Veldhoven last year was not allowed to issue an emergency order for the banning of a multi-day conference of the foundation Dutch Eritrean Platform. This determined the court of East Brabant today. The foundation and conference participants had stepped to court in order to be able to file a compensation.

What preceded this case?

The foundation organized an annual conference for Young Peoples Front for Democracy and Justice Holland (YPFDJ). This would be held from 14 to 16 April 2017 in a conference center in Veldhoven. A day before the conference, a bus with demonstrators arrived at the center, they were summoned by a former vice president of Eritrea to demonstrate against the conference. Skirmishes between the police and protesters arose from 16.00 hours. Around 7:15 PM, the demonstrators refused to comply with an order from the police to leave. Approximately 120 detainees were detained there. At 7.51 pm the mayor issued an emergency order that the conference should not go ahead. 

The foundation and 135 conference participants objected last yearagainst this emergency order. They also went to court on the same day for a temporary provision so that the conference could continue. This request was rejected . The mayor maintained the emergency order in objection . The foundation stepped to court again. And this time many individual conference participants also turn to the courts. Some of the arrested demonstrators were recently acquitted by the subdistrict court of not following orders from the police.

Despite the fact that the conference was planned more than a year ago, there is still a process interest. The foundation and conference goers have suffered damage: the foundation has incurred costs for the organization, and the participants have to make travel expenses. They want to get this reimbursed and have to get them right in this procedure first.

The foundation and the conference participants argue, among other things, that the mayor was not authorized to issue an emergency order because there was no serious disorder or the fear of it. In addition, the mayor would have made insufficient efforts to allow the conference to continue and to have insufficiently informed of the availability of police in case the announced demonstrators actually appeared.

According to the mayor, the day before the conference, there was a persistent pattern of serious disorder, there was an explicit risk of repeated and increasing disruptions of public order and the conference center could not guarantee the safety of the participants in the conference. After the police had indicated that they could not guarantee the safety of the attendees and the police had also requested the mayor to make use of his emergency powers, the burgomaster found that other less restrictive measures than the prohibition of the conference could suffice. an emergency order.

Judge administrative judge

The court finds that the mayor was allowed to take the position that serious disorders were involved. This does not mean, however, that the mayor should have given an emergency order. The mayor must - in addition to an advice from the police - also form his own opinion on whether there are reasonable alternatives to issuing an emergency order. He asked the police whether they could guarantee the safety of visitors and demonstrators, but he did not ask any other relevant questions. For example, the mayor did not ask how many police officers were available and whether these numbers could be delivered. The courtfinds all in all that the mayor could not claim that he had nothing else to do than issuing an emergency order. On this basis he could not have judged that there was an administrative emergency situation. This means that the court allocates the profession of the foundation and conference participants. They can now proceed further for compensation.
(Software translation)

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