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European far-right conference resumes a day after police shut down the event

BRUSSELS (AP) – An international conference of far-right politicians and supporters resumed in Brussels yesterday after the organisers launched a legal challenge against the authorities in the Belgian capital who feared the event could pose a threat to public order.

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban was due to speak at the National Conservative conference, a gathering of strident nationalists and fundamentalist, a day after Nigel Farage, the man credited with taking Britain out of the European Union (EU), addressed the crowd.

French far-right figurehead Eric Zemmour had been scheduled to criticise the EU’s new migrant and asylum rules at the event on Tuesday but was turned away by police. He returned yesterday, was quickly surrounded by media, stood for a few photos with admirers and retired to the VIP room. Emir Kir, mayor of the Saint-Joss neighbourhood where it was held, had ordered police to prevent people from entering.

Kir acted after a group of anti-fascists threatened to disrupt the meeting. Indeed, the group had harassed conference organisers in recent days, forcing them to change venues twice. No protesters were in sight hours after police began to shut the event down but around 50 gathered after most participants had left on Tuesday.

But after an overnight legal challenge, a Brussels judge put a stay on the closure order.

Earlier, the Belgian and British leaders expressed concern about developments.

Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo, a liberal and opponent of the far right, called the shutdown unacceptable in a post on the X platform.

Police look on as demonstrators hold a banner outside the National Conservatism conference in Brussels, Belgium. PHOTO: AP