At the call of a broad coalition* of civil society organisations, trade unions and NGOs, more than 40,000 people gathered on Sunday 22 October in front of the European Commission headquarters in solidarity with the Palestinian population of Gaza and to call on the European Union and Belgium to impose an immediate ceasefire.
After an introductory speech, the demonstrators marched through the streets of the European quarter, returning to the Schuman roundabout. Palestinians and representatives of the organising associations then took to the podium. The speeches all converged on the immediate need for a ceasefire and the protection of all civilian populations, but also on the need to put an end to impunity, by doing everything possible to ensure that the ICC can investigate the crimes committed and prosecute the perpetrators, and to deal with the structural causes of the violence, which are the occupation, colonisation and apartheid policy exercised by Israel against the Palestinian people. The demonstration took place peacefully and without incident.
“The call to demonstrate was followed by a massive turnout”, said Gregory Mauzé, spokesman for the Belgo-Palestinian Association. “The message is loud and clear: Belgian and European politicians must do everything possible to bring about an immediate ceasefire between Israel and Hamas. The situation in Gaza is such that the risk of ethnic cleansing, or even genocide, is increasingly being raised. There is still time to avoid the worst, which is why the first priority is a ceasefire”.
More broadly, the organisers are calling on the EU to take binding measures to ensure that Israel respects international law and puts an end to the colonisation of occupied Palestinian territory. “Belgium and the EU must sever all ties with the Israeli settlements, all of which contribute to the dispossession of the Palestinian people, which means at the very least banning all trade with them”, adds Gregory Mauzé.
11.11.11., Association belgo-palestinienne, ARCI, A Contre Courants, Les Ambassadeurs d’expression, Amitié Sans Frontières, Agir pour la paix, Attac Bruxelles, AWSA-Be (Arab Women’s Solidarity Association – Belgium), BA4P, Bite Back, BDS ULB, Broederlijk Delen, CETRI, CADTM, CNE – Centrale Nationale des Employés, CEPAG, CIRé, CNAPD, Comité belge de soutien au peuple sahraoui, Communauté palestinienne en Belgique et au Luxembourg, CNCD-11.11.11., De-Colonizer, Een Andere Joodse Stem, Entraide & Fraternité, Fédération internationale des droits humains (FIDH), FGTB, FGTB Centrale Générale, FGTB wallonne, Formations Léon Lesoil, FOS, Intal, Jeunes CSC, Jeunes FGTB, JOC, Laïcité et Humanisme en Afrique Central (LHAC), Mouvement Ouvrier Chrétien (MOC), Mouvement d’action paysane (MAP), Palestina Solidariteit Pax Christi Vlanderen, Union des progressistes juifs de Belgique (UPJB), Présences et actions culturelles (PAC), Réseau Wallon de lutte contre la pauvreté, Solsoc, Soralia, Soutien belge Overseas, Vie Féminine, Viva Salud, Vrede.
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