Thousands remember Brussels attacks in sombre, multi-faith march
Thousands of people attended a commemorative march on Sunday (April 17) in the Belgian capital Brussels, nearly a month after a series of attacks against the city’s metro and Zaventem airport killed 32 people.
Holding banners reading messages like “All together against terror and hatred” and “Together in Peace. Freedom. Respect,” participants gathered in the town’s northern station before marching across the city centre to the Bourse, the city’s former stock exchange and what has become its commemoration landmark.
Followed by clerical representatives of Belgium’s various religious communities, the march was opened by its organisers, the Leuven-based confederation of associations “Hart boven hard”, a group that describes itself as anti-capitalist and whose name loosely translates as “Heart above austerity”.
One of the groups’ founders, Wouter Hillaert, said the idea for the march arose after a group of far-right protesters disturbed previous commemorations at the Bourse.
“We want a Belgium of unity; I think that’s the only good answer we can have on the terror. It’s not against each other, but together we will fight terrorism,” said Hillaert.
Pensioner Marie-Therese Pirenne travelled from the small town of Plombieres near the border with Germany to attend the march.
“I’m glad I came today to participate with all the Belgians and people from the entire world, and to express solidarity against all these barbarians who are attacking us,” Pirenne said.
After the march, members of its organisation committee and victims along with relatives of victims met with Belgian Prime Minister, Charles Michel, at his official residence, the Lambermont, near Brussels’ royal palace.
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