Demonstration to support Palestinians marred by incidents

A demonstration staged in Brussels to support the Palestinian people in the Gaza conflict, was disturbed by violent incidents. A group of youngsters emerged from side streets during the rally, provoking the police and causing havoc. A dozen hooligans were apprehended.

The march in support of the Palestinian people attracted an estimated 5,000 people and enjoyed the support of some 50 organisations, including the two major trades unions ACV (Christian democrats) and ABVV (socialists). It started at the North Station around 2pm.

Demonstrators demand a sustainable solution for the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians. "This is a humanitarian crisis in the first place, and international law is being violated," said organiser Lieve Franssen. While it was meant as a peaceful protest, things ran out of hand when a small minority of troublemakers starting hurling stones at the police and jumping on cars. After these first incidents, new problems emerged at the end of the march, near the European district. Windows were smashed, security cameras were destroyed and an American flag was set on fire. The demonstration ended around 5pm with a couple of speeches.

Earlier today, the Jewish community held a peaceful protest action at the Israeli embassy in Ukkel. Israel lost 43 people since the conflict escalated a couple of weeks ago, compared to over 1,000 Palestinians.