Eindhoven’s Mayor, John Jorritsma, has also prohibited the anti-Islamic movement, Pegida’s, demonstration which was planned for Saturday.
Earlier, he already announced not to allow a demonstration on Thursday at the Al Fourqaan mosque in Eindhoven, during the Suikerfeest. This is what Eid al-Fitr, the end of Ramadhan, is referred to locally. Pegida then decided to put in a request for Saturday, but the movement now also has no permission for that.
“I have refused this on the grounds that I cannot prevent riots from occurring, in spite of the large deployment of police and emergency services. That goes for Thursday, and on Saturday the situation will not have changed”, Jorritsma says.
Not an easy decision
The final decision was not easy, says Jorritsma. “There is a lot of friction in society. There are possibly many counter-demonstrators coming to Eindhoven. I had to make a decision then. I need to uphold the fundamental right of free speech. With Pegida, I respect that, however much I also disagree with it. On the other hand, I should weigh up what that means for society and my city. Imagine you live near the mosque; what does that mean for your belongings, your family, and your house?”.
Jorritsma speaks of a diabolical dilemma. “It is a dilemma that I am really struggling with. One with which I also need help. I would like to see a judge state: is this fundamental right an absolute or relative one? Do I have to allow it anywhere, anytime, or can I set conditions so that I can impose restrictions to prevent riots?”
Local residents earlier stated that they did not want new demonstrations by Pegida. They also resent the anti-Islamic movement’s provocations. For example, they held a barbeque at the mosque earlier during the month of Ramadan.
Editor: Melinda Walraven