Low turnout for march against release of infamous paedophile Dutroux
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    Low turnout for march against release of infamous paedophile Dutroux

    a Black March to protest against the potential conditional release of serial paedophile Marc Dutroux and his accomplice gathered around 400 people in Brussels. Credit: NICOLAS MAETERLINCK/Belga

    Hundreds of people took part in a protest over the potential release of infamous serial paedophile Marc Dutroux and of a key accomplice, a much lower figure than what organisers expected.

    While organisers of the Black March expected a large turnout, around 400 people departed from Brussels Gare du Nord on Sunday afternoon, according to figures released by Brussels police.

    The march was slated for 20 October, in a symbolic choice by organisers to mark the anniversary of a White March, which saw over 300,000 people march through Brussels in 1996 to commemorate the victims of Dutroux and accomplices Michel Lelièvre.

    The Black March was organised in response to news that a court had approved a request of conditional release by Michel Lelièvre, whose 25-year prison sentence for his involvement in the criminal case is nearing its end.

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    Lelièvre has been imprisoned for 23 years for being one of four people, including Dutroux and his wife, who participated in the abduction, rape and killing of six girls aged 8 to 19 in the mid-90s.

    News of his conditional release prompted sparked outrage, with several taking to social media to denounce the decision, which his lawyer nevertheless referred to as a “pragmatic choice.”

    A separate liberation request from Dutroux, also denounced by organisers of the march, is now being considered by a Brussels court.

    Gabriela Galindo
    The Brussels Times