Hundreds of people left Place de la Liberté in Brussels at 11:30 on Thursday, to take part in a “funeral march” organised by several groups, including Amnesty International, CIRE (coordination and initiatives for refugees and aliens), and the Human Rights League. The project was launched at an extraordinary meeting of the European Council to talk about migratory pressure in the Mediterranean. Participants are asking for an approach more humane and less focussed on security. Between 200 and 300 people gathered on Place de la Liberté around 3 coffins which were to be symbolically carried to the European quarter, according to Valerie Michaux, Amnesty International spokesperson. The “people taking part in the march” were holding signs with slogans such as “Save Lives”, “People Before Borders” and “Never Again”.
Organisers asked participants to walk in silence, “out of respect for the tragedies which occurred recently”, thus evoking the sinking of a trawler which killed 800 migrants.
The march headed towards the European Council, where an extraordinary meeting of leaders of the European Union is taking place to discuss the issue of migration. “Current European migration policies end up killing people instead of saving them,” denounces Mrs. Michaux. “We are requesting a major joint humanitarian operation. With Frontex (European Agency for the Management of Operational Cooperation at the External Borders of the Member States of the European Union, note from the editor) we do not have the means to act. Migrants have the right to protection in our countries.”