BRUSSELS: Belgian authorities have banned a planned gathering on Sunday of far-right figures including the French comic Dieudonne, after it was slammed by Jewish groups as an “anti-Semitic hatefest”.
Citing security risks, the mayor of the Brussels district of Anderlecht banned both the meeting and any street protests connected to it, Belga news agency reported.
Organizers of the so-called “European Dissidents’ Congress”— a Brussels bookshop and a group called “Debout les Belges!” (Belgians, Rise up!) — had kept its venue secret until the last moment to prevent it from being banned.It was to bring together a string of controversial far-right figures, including the comedian Dieudonne M’bala M’bala, who has faced repeated accusations of anti-Semitism, Holocaust denial and incitement to racial hatred.
The Belgian League against anti-Semitism, LBCA, on Friday filed a complaint before the Brussels prosecutor against what it called “a day of hate, that would serve as a platform for the worst gathering of anti-Semite authors, theorists and propagandists that our country has seen since the end of World War II.”The Nazi-hunting Simon Wiesenthal Centre rallied behind the calls for a ban, dubbing the event an“anti-Semitic hatefest”.
The leader of “Debout Les Belges!”, far-right lawmaker Laurent Louis, upheld the invitation to the event in spite of the ban. “Do not give in to pressure and come with your families, in calm and good spirits.”