’Trump not Welcome’: Thousands protest US president’s visit ahead of NATO summit in Brussels
Thousands of people took to the streets of Brussels Wednesday to protest Donald Trump’s policies as the US President landed in the Belgian capital for his first NATO summit.
The ‘Trump not Welcome’ march, which was authorized by the city's authorities, attracted around 6,000 people and went off without incident, police said.
The action took place some four kilometers from the presidential palace where Trump held meetings with Belgium’s King Philippe and Prime Minister Charles Michel.
Trump, who was given Belgian chocolate as a gift, told Michel that there were “different problems to discuss, but number one is terrorism. We are in a terrible situation, but we will win.”
The Brussels rally was initiated by a student organization which said on its website that Trump "caused outrage all over the world, dividing and excluding people, denying climate change, intimidating the media, phasing out solidarity."
The initiative, however, was supported by various civil groups and organizations, including Doctors of the World, Amnesty International, Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth, Oxfam International and others as well.
This explained the variety of slogans on display during the event, including “Trump, go home,” “Stop Trump, save the planet,” “No NATO, no war,” “No ban, no wall,” “Refugees – in, Trump – out” and many similar messages
Huge effigies of Trump and Michel were also on display during the march with the Belgian PM portrayed as a puppet of the US president.
Belgians also recalled that during his campaign for the White House, Trump said that Brussels was “like living in a hellhole” due to several terror attacks in the city. Several signs in the Belgian capital on Wednesday read: “Trump says Brussels is a hellhole. Brussels says Trump is an a**hole.”
According to TASS, the march was also joined by Kurds who failed to get permission to stage their own rally against the arrival of Turkey’s President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, to the NATO summit.
The Brussels authorities also denied a public gathering in support of the Turkish leader.
President Trump’s first international tour, which included stops in Saudi Arabia, Israel, Palestine and the Vatican, has been marred by several protests.
Palestinians protested on Monday and Tuesday as they clashed with Israeli forces resulting in a dozen people being injured by rubber bullets and reported live fire. In Gaza, an effigy of Trump was held at gunpoint after the US President labeled local Hamas group a terrorist organization.
Over a hundred people also staged a rally not far from the US embassy in Rome ahead of the US President’s meeting with Pope Francis.
Trump is scheduled to attend a summit with the 28 leaders of the NATO military alliance, which he once described as “obsolete,” but has since changed his stance.
Trump is expected to press NATO to join the fight against Islamic State during the gathering which will also see the opening of the block’s new billion-dollar headquarters, according to European and US diplomats cited by western media.