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Cancelled Nat C conference resumes after legal challenge in Brussels

A CANCELLED international conference of far-right politicians and supporters resumed in Brussels today after the organisers launched a legal challenge in the Belgian capital.

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban was due today to speak at the National Conservative (Nat C) conference, a gathering of raging “nationalists” and fundamentalist Christians, a day after Nigel Farage addressed attendees.

French far-right figurehead Eric Zemmour had been scheduled to criticise the EU’s new and already brutal asylum rules at the event on Tuesday but was turned away by police. He returned today, was quickly surrounded by media, stood for a few photos with brainless devotees and retired to the VIP room.

Emir Kir, mayor of the Saint-Joss neighbourhood, where the Nat C conference was held, had ordered police to prevent people from entering.

Mr Kir acted after anti-fascists threatened to disrupt the meeting. The group successfully forced the Nat C organisers to change venues twice.

No protesters were seen as police began to shut the event down but some 50 gathered after most participants had left on Tuesday.

But after an overnight legal challenge, a Brussels judge put a stay on the closure order.

Earlier, the Belgian and British leaders expressed concern about developments. Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo, a liberal, called the shutdown unacceptable in a post on Twitter.

“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 wrote.

The conference comes ahead of Europe-wide elections. As campaigning for the June 6-9 polls heats up, established parties fear that disenchanted voters might turn to some of the people attending Nat C 2024. Surveys suggest that mainstream political parties are likely to retain power after the elections but quite possibly with a reduced majority.

The conference is organised by far-right US think tank the Edmund Burke Foundation, and held under the banner of “National Conservatism, preserving the nation state in Europe.”


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