Brussels law enforcement tries to shut down conservative conference


(MENAFN) Belgian police drew criticism and accusations of censorship after barricading the entrance to a national conservative conference held in Brussels, the capital of the European Union. The event, known as NatCon, brought together populists from Europe and the United States at the Claridge venue in central Brussels. However, attendees faced obstacles as police blocked the entrance, preventing keynote speaker Eric Zemmour, a former French presidential candidate, from accessing the venue.

The attempted shutdown of the conference sparked condemnation from participants, who viewed it as an act of political repression and censorship. Brexit architect Nigel Farage, addressing the audience, humorously remarked on his lack of welcome in Brussels, describing the attempt to cancel the event as "simply monstrous." Meanwhile, Zemmour expressed his dismay on social media, comparing Belgium's actions to living "between a caliphate and a dictatorship."

Prior to the conference, two other venues withdrew from hosting NatCon due to pressure from socialist and liberal officials, including mayors from Brussels and nearby areas. Despite attempts to shut down the event, organizers emphasized its peaceful nature, highlighting the absence of public disturbances and the participation of esteemed scholars and elected leaders in civilized discussions.

The standoff between organizers and authorities persisted throughout the day, with police citing concerns about potential public disorder as justification for their actions. Eventually, a compromise was reached between the venue owner and the local mayor, allowing the conference to proceed but preventing new arrivals, including Zemmour and French MEP Patricia Chagnon, from entering the premises. The incident raised questions about freedom of expression and political dissent in Brussels, a city known for its role as the seat of the European Union.

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