CAPITAL HIT BY PROTESTS
Opposing rallies are taking the streets of Astana and other cities while the country's waiting for King's decision
Fourteen injured and four arrests. This is the result of the protests which erupted in Astana yesterday afternoon, as stated by a spokesperson of the Metropolitan Gendarmerie. The protests exploded after the announcement that the Court of the Seven, Tarajani supreme court, decided to welcome the appeal made by the Evangelical Lutheran Church of New Tarajan (ELCNT) against the Anti-Religious Interference Law recently passed through the legislative process and signed by the King.
As expected, the Court's ruling, which defined the law as "unacceptable under Tarajani principles of law and in contradiction with them"
, re-ignited the long-lasting religious contrasts existing under the surface of Tarajani politics. A country deeply divided along religious lines (between the Western States, with a Jahanist or even non-believer majorities, and the Eastern States, with stronger Christian minorities, sometimes even majorities; or between those still skeptics about Christian loyalties to the Monarchy and to the Tarajani liberal regime and those, instead, strongly advocating a complete religious liberalization) now finds itself facing the possibility of a repeal of one of its most controversial laws, which touched a very delicate issue, such as the influence of religion in politics.
The law, already hotly contested, particularly at the State level, was authored by TSDP members, with the open support of a majority of the governing Blue Party and even, after the Morean crisis, of the government itself and a majority of the Landsraad.
As a result, its possible repeal is creating a true storm over the Kingdom, and many have taken the streets, both in Astana and other major cities, in order to protest their indignation against the ruling (deemed as an "attack against Tarajani freedom"
) or, at the contrary, their support for the repeal of a "legislative unjustice"
. Although the rallies have been mainly peaceful, clashes became almost unavoidable when the two sides met each other, as in the case of Astana, where both rallies met not far from Palace Van Souten, seat of the Court of the Seven. The police had an hard way of handling with the protesters, and as a result three cars were burned, and there were injured and arrests.
The situation is now slowly coming under control, as in other cities, although more rallies have been announced in Eindhoven, Witteberg, and Bergenstadt.
The whole Kingdom is waiting to see what the King will do now, although only few expect that the sovereign would really risk not to accept the repeal (which would be an unprecedented move in Tarajani history).
Political reactions mounting about prospective repeal
Meanwhile, political reactions are beginning to surface from all directions. After the first comments released by members of the conservative Regeneratije Partij
(RP), opposing the ruling, now it is the turn of the governing Blue Party
of Prime Minister De Witte-Beulen. "The Court's decision must be respected"
a party's spokesperson said "Although the Diet will have to address again the issues arising from this repeal."
An ambigious position, clearly defined in order not to dissatisfy both the moderate and radical currents inside the party. More uncompromising comments came from few Blue representatives belonging to the radicals: "This decision is absurd"
they said during an interview "Compromising months of delicate legislative work, aimed at protecting our citizens from harming interference...did the judges already forgot what happened in Witteberg? Or in Heinrichstadt?"
a reference to the most recent cases of religiously-motivated controversies and violence (in Heinrichstadt, the local County Diet was burned to the ground by protesters during an anti-abortion rally).
On the same line most of the TSDP
, which now risks of seeing its political power greatly diminished by the Court's decision. A repeal of the law, indeed, would mean a serious setback for the socialist reprisal in the Diet after years of consensus fall.
The far right Republikeinse Vrijheid
(Republican Freedom, or RV) approved the ruling, which they labelled as "just another attempt by the monarchical institutions of attacking the rights of thousands of Tarajani citizens"
But it is on the State level that the situation is getting more and more messy. Beginning into the Landsraad, where the Major Houses are divided on the issue (as they were during the legislative process), between Western Houses (generally in favour of the law) and Eastern Houses (generally against it). Yesterday afternoon, in the aftermath of the protests, during a session of the Landsraad Albrecht IV Van Adelaar, Duke of Drachten, publicly announced that, under his personal suggestion, the Ducal Diet has halted the process of reception of the law (every federal law must be accepted into local State law to have full effects into State territories), which was already meeting with strong resistance; same decision was announced immediately after by Karl Ludwig VI Van Haasen, Duke of Bergen. The decision of two of the largest States of the Kingdom to openly refuse the law even before the King's intervention is a strong political signal, which was not well received by all other Landsraad members, such as Philippe IV Van Aardenne, Count of Gravan, who defined them as "irresponsible behavior"
(strong words in the usually more calm Landsraad). However, perhapes it is significant that, to bridge the opinions of both sides, it was Marcel V De Witte, Count of Witteberg and cousin of the Prime Minister, who intervened.
Now everybody's waiting: when the King will return from Vieneskel, and his meeting with House of Vergara, the decision will be his to take. And it will be a tough one.