Antwerp: Mayor bans headscarf protests
Protests against the headscarf ban in front of the school gates is prohibited from now on.
Since the start of the new school year there have been daily protests of upset Muslims who in this way wanted to protest against the ban on wearing a head covering. Such a ban was implemented at the start of the school year in the Hoboken and Antwerp Atheneums.
Antwerp mayor Patrick Janssens says the city will no longer allow such protests.
"Because the constitutional right for freedom of speech is of great importance in Antwerp, permission was given for a protest against the ban. After Tuesday's protest the organizers asked to conduct it for another whole week, which was allowed under strict conditions and with a daily evaluation."
"Despite the fact that most protesters complied with the laid-down conditions, the protest turned very noisy and emotional from moment to moment."
"It is now time for calm to return to the school gates. Teachers, administration, parents, but in particular also children and students of the elementary and secondary education, also have a right to start the new school year in a calm and pleasant manner".
The city of Antwerp says a new request for a demonstration should move it to a different, more appropriate place than the school gates.
An Thursday protesters continued on in a protest against the headscarf ban at the Hoboken Atheneum for the third day in a row. "In a rude, radical manner," says principal Chris Weyers.
According to the police 175 protesters gathered in front of the school building at Hendriklei. The protest was allowed, under preconditions. They could only protest in Dutch.
"A woman with a megaphone called in Arabic to storm the school," says police spokesperson Sven Lommaert. “Several young men tried that, too, but they were held back by agents."
The school administration hoped that the demonstration would stop after September 1st, and cannot do anything against the situation.
Protests were also held at the Antwerp Atheneum (at Rooseveltplaats). since the first school day, another 11 students haven't shown up. In total, 33 Muslim girls left the school.
But in Hoboken the procedure became much more radical. According to principal Chris Weyers it's not proper anymore when mothers ban the doors with their fists and do with their hand as if they cut their throat. "That's death threats towards the teachers and students," according to Weyers.
Students who do go to school, don't go in due to the protest and radical parents force their children not to go to school, even if they want to. The school administration doesn't understand why the mayor continues to allow the protests and hopes they'll soon be in the past.
Source: GvA 1, 2 (Dutch), h/t NRP