HomeDanish Politics"Folkemødet hires mediators to prevent disruptive debates at event"

“Folkemødet hires mediators to prevent disruptive debates at event”

The People’s Meeting intensifies efforts against interrupted debates with professional mediators. Due to the fear of disrupted debates, the People’s Meeting on Bornholm has chosen to engage professional mediators. These mediators will help facilitate dialogue between demonstrators and debaters if activists try to interrupt debates with loud shouts. Peter Christiansen, director of the People’s Meeting Association, states that the mediators are trained to de-escalate conflicts and encourage calm and constructive dialogue. “They are people who are trained for it and good at de-escalating conflicts, listening, and telling people, ‘Stay calm, let’s make this work,'” says Christiansen. He adds that some of the mediators are hired externally, while others are trained and coached by the People’s Meeting itself. The number of mediators is not specified, and they will only intervene if requested by a debate organizer.

The People’s Meeting Association has also prepared a guide on its website containing suggestions and ideas on how organizers can address any disruptive activists. It is emphasized that it is up to the organizers whether they want to engage in dialogue, take a break, cancel, or invite the demonstrators in for a conversation. “We cannot ban anyone from being here. It is a public space, and in a public space, everyone is welcome. That is our premise, and that is the framework in which the People’s Meeting is held,” says Christiansen. The conflict in Gaza has led to loud protests, causing concern among Danish politicians and debaters about possible interruptions during the People’s Meeting. For example, the Confederation of Danish Industry (DI), which has its own stage and several debaters, has expressed fear that their events could be interrupted by aggressive activists. Mette Østergaard, director of DI, believes it is important to protect the democratic dialogue that the People’s Meeting symbolizes. She expresses concern that activists could disrupt conversations in an undemocratic manner. “We have a proud tradition of democratic dialogue here at the People’s Meeting, which is the ultimate symbol that those in power and the population can meet in informal dialogue. We must cherish that,” says Østergaard. “Therefore, I think it would be extremely unfortunate if demonstrators undemocratically interrupt the conversations.” DI has already prepared its employees on how to handle any interruptions during the People’s Meeting. Østergaard describes this as “timely care” and emphasizes that they will do everything they can to conduct their events in the good and cozy spirit of the People’s Meeting.

Read the danish version here

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