About 10,000 persons of all ages and origins assembled on Sunday afternoon at the Place Poelaert in Brussels to protest against police brutality against people of colour and, generally, racism, according to an early tally by the capital police.
The protest was part of a wave of demonstrations worldwide sparked by the killing on 25 May in Minneapolis, USA, of an African-American, George Floyd, at the hands of a white policeman who knelt on his neck for eight minutes and forty-six seconds, strangling him.
“The murder of George Floyd has visibly awakened many people,” said Ange Kazi, spokesperson of the Belgian Network for Black Lives Matter (BNFBL), which called for the protest. “Many people are fed up with police violence, which systematically affects Blacks,” she said.
The vast majority of the demonstrators wore masks, to protect themselves against the novel Coronavirus. Many carried placards bearing the slogan “Black Lives Matter.” Others mentioned the names of Semira Adamu, Mawda and young Brussels residents Mehdi and Adil.
Credit: Tony Passaro
“We demand justice for each victim of police violence in Belgium,” demonstrators said, adding that at each incident, an investigating judge needs to be designated so that the victims and their families can benefit from an impartial investigation.
Deployed around the Place Poelaert to monitor the demonstration, the police maintained a discreet presence.