Tuesday, September 11, 2007

SIOE demonstration - Brussels, September 11 2007

"Politics in Germany are not as they are over here. There you do not leave office to go into Opposition. You do not leave the Front Bench to sit below the gangway. You may well leave your high office at a quarter of an hour's notice to drive to the police station, and you may be conducted thereafter very rapidly to an even graver ordeal." - Winston Churchill to the House of Commons, July 13 1934. Now Brussels in 2007 is not yet at this lamentable stage. But it appears that the police at the SIOE demo were targeting elected representatives in preference to Joe Public.

From Brussels Journal : The grey-haired man whom we see being attacked by the police first is Luk Van Nieuwenhuysen, the Vice-President of the Flemish Parliament. Shortly afterwards we see the police maltreating Frank Vanhecke, a member of the European Parliament and the party leader of the Vlaams Belang. We see how he is handcuffed and pushed into a police bus. Afterwards we also see the police "taking care" of Filip Dewinter, the VB group leader in the Flemish Parliament. We see how his arm gets caught between the closing doors of the bus. An Italian MEP and a French MEP were also arrested. The demonstrators were kept in cells for seven hours and released this evening.

UPDATE - this blogger attended. More police than protesters and a lot of media.

UPDATE2 - lots of links here.

As a socialist schoolboy I campaigned for Terry Davis in the 1971 Bromsgrove by-election. Thirty-five years on he's Secretary General of the Council of Europe, 12% of whose £150 million annual budget comes from UK taxpayers.

This is what he has to say :

Press release - 590(2007)

Europe is threatened by bigots - not by Islam

Statement by Terry Davis, Secretary General of the Council of Europe, on the march “Against the Islamisation of Europe” today in Brussels

Strasbourg, 11.09.2007 - European values are under threat, say the organisers of a protest march under the banner “Against the Islamisation of Europe” which was due to place today in Brussels in spite of the ban by the city Mayor. The fact is that Europe and its values are indeed under threat, but the danger is not coming from Islam. Our common European values are undermined by bigots and radicals, both islamists and islamophobes, who exploit fears and prejudice for their own political objectives.

The self-proclaimed defenders of European values say that the Mayor has violated their rights under the European Convention on Human Rights. The freedom of assembly and the freedom of expression are indeed essential preconditions for democracy, but they should not be regarded as a licence to offend. I will not enter into the discussion about whether the march should have been allowed or not, but I note that the protesters’ reading of the Convention is selective to say the least. It is very important to remember that the freedom of assembly and expression can be restricted to protect the rights and freedoms of others, including the freedom of thought, conscience and religion. This applies to everyone in Europe including the millions of Europeans of Islamic faith, who were the main target of today’s shameful display of bigotry and intolerance.

Council of Europe Press Division
Tel: +33 (0)3 88 41 25 60
Fax:+33 (0)3 88 41 39 11


The key sentence is "It is very important to remember that the freedom of assembly and expression can be restricted to protect the rights and freedoms of others, including the freedom of thought, conscience and religion.".

It looks as if "the rights and freedoms of others" includes the right not to be offended. Only for some others, of course, not for everyone. That would never do. I like the use of language, describing Muslims as "the main target" of a peaceful demonstration. There have been one or two other "main targets" in Europe over the last few years - of rather less peaceful "demonstrations".


Bert Rustle said...

Laurence Auster has an interesting comparison:

In the Cartoon protests in London in early 2006, masked Muslims carried signs such as “IF YOU INSULT ISLAM, WE WILL BEHEAD YOU.” Yet the British police declined to arrest the protesters, because, they said, it would create disruption, meaning that Muslims would get excited and violent. But in Brussels yesterday the police arrested non-threatening demonstrators against Islamization, on the basis that their non-threatening demonstration would be create disruption, i.e., that Muslims would get excited and violent. So Muslims were allowed to stand in central London threatening mass murder against non-Muslims (and were only quietly arrested months later), while peaceful demonstrators against Islam are violently arrested.

flychek said...

In London recently Masked muslim radicals were allowed to demonstrate with highly provocative banners such as "EUROPE, YOU'LL BE CRAWLING WHEN THE MUJAHIDDEEN COME ROARING" and "EXTERMINATE THOSE WHO INSULT ISLAM" also "POLICE GO TO HELL" as well as "MAY ALLAH CURSE THE QUEEN". The police stood by and did absolutely fuck all. Peaceful protests against these horrible people face instant arrest, which is just so depressing. I sense a terrible backlash in the years to come.