Court upholds ban on protest
30 August 2007, BRUSSELS (AP) - An appeals court has upheld the ban of an anti-Islam protest planned for 11 September in Belgium's capital, six years after the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington.
30 August 2007
BRUSSELS (AP) - An appeals court has upheld the ban of an anti-Islam protest planned for 11 September in Belgium's capital, six years after the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington.
The organisers - an alliance of Europeans opposed to the "Islamisation" of Europe - failed to prove the ban causes them "irreparable damage," the Council of State, an administrative appeals court, ruled late Wednesday.
Brussels Mayor Freddy Thielemans banned the demonstration on 9 August fearing it would disturb public order and calling the Stop Islamisation of Europe alliance an inflammatory group.
In a secular democracy "it cannot be that women and men are ... suspected of having committed the worst crimes" simply because they are Muslims, said Thielemans.
Since 2001, Thielemans has approved more than 3,500 demonstrations in the Belgian capital and banned six, including the one of SIOE which calls itself "an alliance of people across Europe with the single aim of preventing Islam becoming a dominant political force in Europe."
The group's origins lie in anti-Muslim organisations in Denmark, Britain and Germany. It called for the Brussels protest to commemorate the victims of 9/11.
A posting on the SIOE web site Thursday suggested the 11 September protest will go ahead as planned.
"Well! Mayor Thielemans believes he has the final say!" it read. "Thousands of people believe otherwise."
[Copyright AP 2007]
Subject: Belgian news