‘He who laughs last laughs longest’
The Court of East Brabant ruled that Mayor of Veldhoven Jack Mikkers was wrong to ban the YPFDJ world-wide conference, which was being held in Holland in 2017.
The Mayor took a very aggressive and hostile action on the 650 participants of the conference, who were kicked out from the city – leaving them in harm’s way and great difficulties.
Citing disruptions of public order and that the conference center could not guarantee the safety of the participants, the Mayor prohibited the event through an emergency order.
The court ruled in favour of the YPFDJ and the participants, who can now go ahead to claim compensation for damages caused by his action – including travel expenses and the costs incurred by the organization.
The court concluded:
“He could not have judged that there was an administrative emergency situation,” citing “The mayor must – in addition to advice from the police – also form his own opinion on whether there are reasonable alternatives to issuing an emergency order. He asked the police whether they could guarantee the safety of visitors and demonstrators, but he did not ask any other relevant questions. For example, the mayor did not ask how many police officers were available and whether these numbers could be delivered.”
This is, indeed, a great news for the participants of the conference and the Eritrean people at large.
The fact of the matter is that this was a politically motivated hostile action. It was not due to the police could not handle about 100 protestors, who had no legal permission to protest.
The first tell-tale signs of the seriousness of the matter emerged, when the Dutch government released a statement, expressing “concern over a visit by an Eritrean Presidential Advisory”. Why was Dutch government releasing such a statement? It was not as though Mr. Yemane Gebreab was visiting the country for the first time, nor was it his first time to hold a public engagement with Eritreans in the Netherlands.
The drama that was staged to justify the ban was done in advance. The first stage was for “the peace-loving victims” of Eritrean government to report to the police that the YPFDJ conference was putting their lives in danger prior to the conference.
When a strange-looking group of people released a strange and puzzling video message claiming that their lives were endangered by the 13th YPFDJ Conference, it was wildly treated as much of a joke in the social media. This was, in fact, a very sinister first move that was orchestrated by the handlers.
This was followed by another stage to give an excuse to ban the event, where the same “peace-loving victims” made threats to use force not only to disrupt the conference but also cause greatest physical damage to the youth and Eritrean leadership.
It did not take long for the staged drama to fall apart, and for the truth to emerge. The hostile action that was taken on the YPFDJ Conference, had not much to do with the Eritreans, who were used as the front face or justification for the action, it was rather organized with the involvement of Dutch authorities.
The staged drama failed for many reasons. The Dutch authorities could no longer play their role from behind the scene. The Mayor of the city released the address of the venue publicly, to allow the protesters to make their way to play the role assigned to them.
The protesters, however, failed miserably. The Dutch media turned up at the place before the protesters. Such a big presence of the national media by itself raised many questions. To make matters worst the leader of the protesters , Mr Kibrom Dafla, let the cat out of the bag in a big way In his call to his followers to make their way to the city, where the conference was being held, he directly put it what the Dutch authorities have asked of them in order to ban the conference in Eritrean language.
Translation of his message reads:
“Our protest is a precondition required for the closure of the conference. The administration of the city and the central government of Holland are waiting for our protest to close the conference. In order to stop the conference our protest is the only thing required. The newspapers and media are already flocking there. We must not miss this historic opportunity.”
What followed was, hard to believe and a disgrace to the Netherlands as a nation. Without any regard to the basic needs of the hundreds of conference attendants, the Mayor of the city, followed by the politically motivated court ruling, not only did they ban the conference, they ordered the 650 people to leave the city by certain time giving them only a few hours to pack up and leave. However, the Court of East Brabant, has now redressed the wrong-doing.
The inconveniences caused to the youth was perceived as a significant success and a cause for big celebration by the few Eritreans and their handlers. However, as the saying goes: “He who laughs last, laughs longest.”