Some 3,000 people gathered in Brussels to express their support for the Palestinians on Saturday, following the flare-up of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in recent days.
The crowd demonstrated on the Place de l’Albertine near Brussels Central Station, with many carrying a Palestinian flag, or banners drawing attention to the victims in the Gaza Strip.
The protest is an initiative of ABP (Association Belgo-Palestinienne), Palestine Solidarité and the Palestinian community in Belgium, and has already brought around 3,000 people to the centre of Brussels.
Authorisation for the protest was requested in advance, and was also granted, the police told the Belga news agency.
On the Facebook event of the demonstration, the organisers had previously warned that no anti-Semitic remarks would be tolerated.
Specifically, the participants are denouncing the evictions and demolitions of houses in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, which “have accelerated dramatically in recent months despite the coronavirus crisis.”
“These persecutions constitute the crime of apartheid, as pointed out by many Israeli, Palestinian and international human rights organisations,” the organisers said.
“It is therefore incumbent on Belgium to act to hold the authority that practices it accountable, and to defend the inalienable right of exiled Palestinians to return to their land,” they added.
Since the beginning of this week, the Israeli army has been bombarding the Palestinian Gaza Strip in response to the rockets fired into Israel from Gaza by Hamas, resulting in the deaths of more than 130 Palestinians and eight Israelis.
Not only in Brussels, but also in other places in the world – such as Sydney and Melbourne, Ankara, Madrid, Berlin, London, Geneva, The Hague and Washington – people are gathering to show their support for the Palestinians.
The demonstrators want Israel to stop the bombings, and demand an end to the occupation and isolation of the Palestinian territories.
According to the Brussels police, officers were present at the demonstration with seven vans and a water cannon, but there were no incidents.