‘ISIS, go away. Belgium isn’t yours ’: Thousands march against terror in Brussels
Thousands of people have taken to the streets of the Belgian capital to join a march “against terror and hatred.” The rally was organized in response to attacks in Brussels in March that killed 32 people and injured over 300.
At least 7,000 people have gathered around the city for the demonstration dubbed “All together”, local media reported, citing police. The organizers, however, expected at least 15,000 participants.
The relatives of the victims of the Brussels bombings and those who survived the attacks have reportedly taken part in the rally, the RTBF broadcaster said, adding that among the participants are representatives of different religions.
People were holding banner, saying “Daesh, go away. Belgium is not yours.” Other slogans read: “Against Terror and Hatred” and “Against Racism, Terrorism”.
In Molenbeek, a predominantly migrant area in Brussels, referred to as an “Islamist hotspot”, at least 900 people gathered for the rally. “Solidarity with families,” said one of the banners held by the demonstrators.
Siegfried Bracke, president of the Chamber of Representatives in Belgium, was seen among the crowds. He confirmed his participation in the march on Twitter.
Prime Minister Charles Michel is also expected to join the rally.
Alexis Deswaef, president of the League for Human Rights, who was present at the rally, said: “We must stop stigmatizing communities, Jews, refugees and first of all, the Muslim community.”
“The terrorists were known to the police. We need an effective fight against terrorism to live in security, but it must go through targeted surveillance. We will not abandon the fundamental freedoms for an illusion of security,” he said, as cited by RTBF.
Initially, the demonstration was scheduled for March 27, but was postponed due to security reasons.
Belgium is on high alert following the deadly attacks in Brussels on March 22. The Belgian capital was hit by twin suicide bombings at Brussels Airport and Maelbeek Metro.
The Metro station was not far from the building housing the EU Commission and the Council of the European Union, as well as NATO’s headquarters.