BRUSSELS, April 17 (UPI) — Thousands marched on the streets of Brussels Sunday “against terror and hate,” including some personally affected by the suicide bomb attacks on Belgium’s airport and metro station that killed 32 people.
A Belgian broadcaster described the march with more than 7,000 people as “calm and silent,” the BBC reported.The turnout was about half of the 15,000 expected for the event.
The march took place almost one month after the two coordinated attacks by suicide bombers struck the Belgian capital, an attack that in addition to the killings, left more than 300 injured.
The crowd, which included some injured in the bombings, was as diverse as Brussels itself, with city officials, metro drivers and politicians mingling among everyday folks, including families with strollers, retirees and dog walkers, The Guardian reported. There were also soldiers with rifles walking through the crowd.
The march had initially been scheduled for a week after the March 22 attacks, but it was postposed at the urging of police over possible security threats.
Marchers carried flowers in memory of those killed in the suicide attacks, walking past the Molenbek neighborhood where many of those believed to have carried out the attacks in both Brussels and Paris had lived. They walked past a makeshift memorial outside the city’s stock exchange.
The Islamic State has taken credit for the March attacks and also for the Nov. 13 Paris attack that killed 130 people.
Belgian police are under considerable pressure to stop the terror cell that carried out the attacks in both countries. They have made dozens of arrests in recent weeks, but the investigation continues.