‘ISIS, go away. Belgium isn’t yours ’: Thousands march against terror & hatred in Brussels (PHOTOS)
Police say around 7,000 people marched across the city for the demonstration dubbed “All together”, local media reported. The organizers, however, expected at least 15,000 participants.
A number of the relatives of the victims of the Brussels bombings and those who survived the attacks took part in the rally, the RTBF broadcaster said, adding that among the participants are representatives of different religions.
People held up banners saying “Daesh [an Arabic acronym for Islamic State, formerly ISIS/ISIL], 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”, around 1,000 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 met with a number of relatives of the victims after the march.
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.