Peaceful protest for Sanda Dia to be held in Brussels on Sunday

Peaceful protest for Sanda Dia to be held in Brussels on Sunday
Credit: Belga / Nicolas Maeterlinck

A demonstration will be held in front of Brussels' Palais de Justice at 13:00 on Sunday 4 June by protestors who deem the punishment for Sanda Dia's death as too lenient.

Over four years after the incident, all 18 members of the Reuzegom student club who forced Sanda Dia to drink fish oil during his hazing ritual avoided prison. Instead, they were given up to 300 hours of community service and were all ordered to pay a €400 fine.

The ruling provoked an outcry, as many viewed it as another example of institutionalised racism. Some have also denounced the ruling as elitist, given that many of the Reuzegom members were rumoured to have been upper-class young adults.

As a result, Walloon and Flemish students have decided to organise a rally in front of the capital's Palais de Justice on Sunday.

"We mourn both Sanda Dia and our justice system at the same time," one of the protest's co-organisers, Eliza Plesea, stated. Another organiser, Jean Kitenge, called on demonstrators to fight peacefully "against racism and against these notorious privileges that do not seem to treat all citizens equally."

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'Heinous and sadistic acts'

Sunday's protest will be the second rally to be held in Dia's honour since Antwerp's Court of Appeals released its ruling last Friday. 300 demonstrators took part in a silent protest in Antwerp's Groenplaats on Saturday against the court verdict.

"The verdict in the Sanda Dia case is not OK," one of the protesters told VRT. "The Reuzegom members should be given a much higher sentence for these heinous and sadistic acts they carried out on a young man who will not see the light of day again. We all know they are from rich backgrounds, so these fines amount to nothing for them."

Among those present was Flemish MP Jos D'Haese (PTB/PVDA). In response to the ruling, the Minister had previously asked "is that what the life of a working-class son of colour is worth?" regarding the €400 fine.

"Sanda's parents, family and friends deserve justice, and it is hard to believe that they are getting it now", he added.

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