BelgiumPalestinePolitics

Pro-Palestinian groups take demonstration to streets of Brussels

Thousands of protesters descended upon district in to show solidarity with Palestinians as 's military crackdown in the occupied territories raged into its second week.

The largely peaceful demonstration in Brussels, calling for an immediate Israeli withdrawal from the territories and the establishment of an independent Palestinian state, drew from 15,000 to 25,000 participants, depending on who was doing the estimating – police or organisers.

“For the first time, we are seeing major European public support for the Palestinians,” said Rahib Hijazi, a Belgo-Palestinian activist at the march, referring to the large turn out of a broad spectrum of Belgo-Arab and Belgian NGOs, Belgian political parties, as well as European charities, such as Oxfam, 11.11.11 and Pax Christi.

The demonstrators, including parades of singing women and children from the Moroccan community in Brussels, marched from the area around the Gare du Nord, along Arts-Loi, stopping off at the US Embassy and ended up at a rally on Place du Luxembourg in front of the European Parliament.

A small group of angry Arab youths defied organisers' appeals to move on and pitched themselves outside the US embassy, which had been cordoned off by riot police, chanting “Bush, Sharon, assassins”. They burned Israeli and US flags and threw rocks at the building.

Organisers recruited 300 community volunteers to keep order. Police said they were largely satisfied with the demonstration, during which they made no arrests, although six were made for minor offences afterwards.

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This article appeared in the 11 April 2002 issue of European Voice

Authors

  • Khaled Diab

    Khaled Diab is an award-winning journalist, blogger and writer who has been based in Tunis, Jerusalem, Brussels, Geneva and Cairo. Khaled also gives talks and is regularly interviewed by the print and audiovisual . Khaled Diab is the author of two books: for the Politically Incorrect (2017) and Intimate Enemies: Living with Israelis and Palestinians in the Holy Land (2014). In 2014, the Anna Lindh Foundation awarded Khaled its Mediterranean Journalist Award in the press category. This website, The Chronikler, won the 2012 Best of the Blogs (BOBs) for the best English-language blog. Khaled was longlisted for the Orwell journalism prize in 2020. In addition, Khaled works as communications director for an environmental NGO based in Brussels. He has also worked as a communications consultant to intergovernmental organisations, such as the EU and the UN, as well as civil . Khaled lives with his beautiful and brilliant wife, Katleen, who works in humanitarian aid. The foursome is completed by Iskander, their smart, creative and artistic son, and Sky, their mischievous and footballing cat. Egyptian by birth, Khaled's life has been divided between the and Europe. He grew up in and the , and has lived in , on and off, since 2001. He holds dual Egyptian-Belgian nationality.

  • Katleen Maes

    Katleen Maes is the victim assistance coordinator for the Nobel peace prize-winning Handicap International in Brussels. She works on the International Campaign to Ban Landmines and is part of the Cluster Munition Coalition. She was the final editor and lead researcher on Fatal Footprint, which measures the human impact of cluster munitions. She is also a conflict resolution and sustainable peace expert specialising in the Middle East. In addition, she writes for various publications.

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Khaled Diab

Khaled Diab is an award-winning journalist, blogger and writer who has been based in Tunis, Jerusalem, Brussels, Geneva and Cairo. Khaled also gives talks and is regularly interviewed by the print and audiovisual media. Khaled Diab is the author of two books: Islam for the Politically Incorrect (2017) and Intimate Enemies: Living with Israelis and Palestinians in the Holy Land (2014). In 2014, the Anna Lindh Foundation awarded Khaled its Mediterranean Journalist Award in the press category. This website, The Chronikler, won the 2012 Best of the Blogs (BOBs) for the best English-language blog. Khaled was longlisted for the Orwell journalism prize in 2020. In addition, Khaled works as communications director for an environmental NGO based in Brussels. He has also worked as a communications consultant to intergovernmental organisations, such as the EU and the UN, as well as civil society. Khaled lives with his beautiful and brilliant wife, Katleen, who works in humanitarian aid. The foursome is completed by Iskander, their smart, creative and artistic son, and Sky, their mischievous and footballing cat. Egyptian by birth, Khaled’s life has been divided between the Middle East and Europe. He grew up in Egypt and the UK, and has lived in Belgium, on and off, since 2001. He holds dual Egyptian-Belgian nationality.

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