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This is a developing story.

Chaos erupted at the National Conservatism conference (“NatCon”) in Brussels today when police ordered the event to be shut down for causing a “public disturbance.”

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Hundreds of attendees gathered in the EU capital to hear speeches by Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orban, the Brexit Party founder Nigel Farage, the UK’s former Home Secretary Suella Braverman, and more right-wing figures and politicians.

Back on April 13, the organizers of NatCon shared that the conference would be moving to a different location after their host caved to political pressure from politicians such as Brussels’s Mayor Phillipe Close.

Even after finding a last minute replacement venue, NatCon shared that they were still facing pressure to cancel the event altogether, just hours leading up to its start. 

As the conference opened, Yoram Hazony, chairman of the Edmund Burke Foundation, which hosts NatCon, said to the crowd, “This is now the third event space where we have attempted to host a National Conservative Conference in Brussels. This is an age in which we can’t expect basic decency or grace from those who are our political opponents.”

The conference proceeded over the next few hours, with a slew of speakers having their chance to address the audience. When Nigel Farage took to the stage, he and his audience did not know what was about to happen. His words were ironically foreshadowing: “If anyone said to me that Brexit wasn’t the right thing to do—leaving this place, recognizing you can’t be a democratic, sovereign nation state and be a member of this monstrous union—they would now tell me: WE WERE RIGHT TO LEAVE!”

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However, just minutes into his speech, the Brussels police arrived at the scene, citing “public disturbance” as the reason for shutting the event down. 

Police blockaded the venue, telling attendees that if they left, they would not be allowed back in. According to NatCon, “Delegates have limited access to food and water, which are being prevented from delivery. Is this what city mayor Emir Kir is aiming for?”

Saurabh Sharma, president of American Moment and executive director of the Edmund Burke Foundation, who had chaired a panel discussion at the event, shared an image of the chaos on X:

Gladden Pappin, President of the Hungarian Institute of International Affairs, told The American Conservative

Brussels has been hounding Hungary for supposed rule of law violations for years. But today in the heart of the European Union, the mayor of Brussels forced the National Conservatism conference out of two venues and is trying to expel it from a third, against the will of the owner. Brussels police have barricaded the doors of the conference location, citing the mayor’s criticism of the ideas being discussed and claiming that the conference is under antifa threat. Conference attendees can leave but not return. This is the reality of liberalism: while draping itself in “norms” and the “rule of law,” it has become an aggressive ideology bent on excluding conservative viewpoints. Unfortunately for them, the truth can’t be excluded.

Hazony also spoke to TAC, saying, “We decided to hold NatCon Brussels 2 because Europe is facing a choice between preserving independent nations or descending into totalitarian liberal tyranny. This ridiculous suppression of political speech only underlines this truth. Make no mistake, this is the entrenched political cartel in Brussels doing everything in and out of their power to stop any challenge to their rule.”

Rod Dreher, resident of Hungary, speaker at NatCon, and TAC contributing editor, told TAC via email, “The Islamo-left municipal government, collaborating with Antifa, are showing the world the kind of Europe they will impose if they aren’t stopped. I never imagined I would live to see something like this in the free and democratic West. Yet here we are. Nothing anybody will have said from the NatCon stage will speak as powerfully about the dark realities of the moment as what the Brussels authorities have done.”

While stuck inside the venue, the speakers are carrying on with the event. The question remains: Is free speech still a reality in the European Union? And when will this dark force of suppression make its way across the Atlantic?

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