Marcel Haenen, Dutch journalist, reports that a court in the Hague has ruled that Saturday’s Festival may not proceed. The municipality of Rijswijk refused to give a permit for the party because it says it cannot estimate the risks of Awel Seid’s performance.
This comes after his earlier Tweet.
The court in The Hague will consider whether sympathizers of the government of Eritrea are allowed to celebrate in Rijswijk on Saturday. Opponents fear ‘the long arm’ of the regime and want a ban on gatherings. #EritreanFestival2022
Resistance to party in Rijswijk because of ‘the long arm of the dictatorial regime in Eritrea’
Lawsuit An Eritrean event in Rijswijk would be organized by “the long arm of the dictatorial regime”.
The court in The Hague must decide on Friday whether a party organized by sympathizers of the Eritrea regime in an event hall in Rijswijk can take place on Saturday.
The municipality of Rijswijk does not want to allow the meeting because the application for a permit by the Netherlands Eritrean Platform Foundation in Uithoorn was submitted too late, according to a spokesperson for the municipality. They would also be afraid of disturbing public order.
The event in Rijswijk is objected to by the Human Rights Foundation for Eritreans. This organization of Eritreans living in the Netherlands opposes the event because, according to this club, it is organized ‘by the long arm of the dictatorial regime in Eritrea’.
According to the foundation’s lawyer, Emiel Jurjens, the meeting is advertised on posters as a ‘cultural meeting’, but in reality the meeting serves to ensure that “tax can be collected illegally” from thousands of Eritreans living in the Netherlands. . According to Jurjens, the embassy of Eritrea has all the personal data of Eritreans in the Netherlands. Failure to show up at a government event could lead to “punitive measures” such as failure to assist with consular assistance requests and reprisals for family members in Eritrea, according to the lawyer.
The administrative court has been requested by the organizing foundation for a provisional injunction so that the meeting can still take place. It is not yet clear whether the procedure will be settled in writing or whether there will be a hearing on Friday. “We are still waiting for the documents,” said a spokesman for the court on Thursday afternoon.
According to the Human Rights for Eritreans Foundation, the event is in fact organized by Eritrea’s only legal political party: the People’s Front for Democracy and Justice (PFDJ ). They point out that the posters depict a leading party member, Awel Seid, in military uniform. Lawyer Jurjens says he fears ‘ hate speech ‘ defending Russia’s attack on Ukraine. In a letter , he asked the embassy of Eritrea to cancel the event.
Gerard Scholtes, owner of Event Plaza where the event will be held, is angry that its passage has been threatened. It would cost him a loss of six thousand euros. Scholtes says there is no reason to fear disorder because he has arranged good security by hiring ten guards. “Nine years ago we also organized this event and then young people also tried to stir things up.” In 2017, a similar event was disrupted in Veldhoven . The Hague police say they will not interfere with whether or not the meeting will go ahead. The lawyer of the foundation organizing the event and the embassy of Eritrea could not be reached for comment.