00:21 GMT +315 October 2019
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    Policemen patrol near the courthouse on Bolivar Square in Antwerp

    Turkish Rally in Antwerp Suburb Banned Over Security Concerns

    © AFP 2019 / ANP / MARCO DE SWART
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    The mayor Belgium's Antwerp banned on Tuesday a Turkish rally in one of the city's suburbs due to its threat to public security, making Belgium the next European country to prohibit the Turkish community demonstrations.

    BRUSSELS (Sputnik) — The rally was scheduled to take place on Friday, March 17 in the suburban town of Berchem in the anticipation of the Turkey's April referendum.

    "This will represent the threat to the public peace," Bart De Wever said, as quoted by Le Meuse newspaper.

    Antwerp’s authorities reportedly fear clashes between rally participants and members of the Flemish nationalist Vlaams Belang Party. The party members had planned to carry out a demonstration against the meeting of the Turkish community representatives on the same date, but the rally was shut down by the authorities.

    In early March, Turkish ministers had been barred from speaking to local Turkish communities in several European countries, including Germany and the Netherlands. The move provoked strong criticism by the Turkish leadership.

    The rallies and speeches were aimed at gaining support among Turks eligible to vote in the April 16 referendum on constitutional amendments which would enhance the judiciary and legislative powers of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.


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