Brussels city authorities ban pro-burqa protest
City authorities in Brussels on Thursday banned a planned protest against a looming ban against wearing the full-face Islamic veil or burqa in public, speaking of "public order problems."
An organisation called Sharia4Belgium, whose website includes videos by Islamists including Britain's Anjem Choudary, called last week for a protest this coming Saturday in the Belgian capital after the national parliament backed moves to ban the burqa.
In Brussels, police and the organ evaluating public threat drew up a "totally negative report" as the planned protest represented a "too big risk of public order troubles," said Nicolas Dassonville, spokesman for the Brussels mayor's office.
Therefore mayor Freddy Thielemans had decided to ban the protest, he said.
The application to hold a protest has been signed by a "guerrilla pseudonym" and the people backing the call "are well known for their very bellicose past," said Dassonville.
On top of that the protest would have taken place at the same time as the traditional "Zinneke Parade", a sort of carnival parade expected to attract tens of thousands to the centre of Brussels.
Last month Belgian deputies backed a draft law banning the wearing of the Muslim veil in all public places, including on the streets, creating a controversial first for Europe.
The text must still be adopted by the upper house Senate before it can come into effect.
On Wednesday the French cabinet approved a draft law to ban the Muslim full-face veil from public spaces, opening the way for the text to go before parliament there in July.
© 2010 AFP