Big anti-Trump demonstration in Brussels


Protesters carry effigies of U.S. President Donald Trump and Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel | Eric Feferberg/AFP via Getty Images

From Politico.eu; with more photos there:

Thousands protest Trump in Belgium

A diverse crowd demonstrated against the American president who came to Brussels for a NATO meeting.

By Peter Baugh

5/24/17, 9:15 PM CET

Updated 5/24/17, 9:26 PM CET

BRUSSELS — Omer Mommerts grasped his wife’s hand as he marched down a sidewalk. A sticker reading “Trump Not Welcome” was neatly pinned to his black overcoat. Though Mommerts is 84-years-old and hard of hearing, he wasn’t going to miss the “Trump Not Welcome” protest in Brussels on Wednesday.

“I see young people and that’s why I’m happy,” he said. “It’s not one generation or one group. It’s inter-generational, inter-cultural. All kinds of people.”

Including, eg, Rainbow House Brussels, the local LGBTQ organisation.

I myself was at this big demonstration; and will have a blog post with my own report as soon as the many photos will be sorted out.

Mommerts and around 9,000 others — according to police estimates — gathered to protest U.S. President Donald Trump’s arrival in Brussels where he is scheduled to attend the NATO Summit Thursday as part of his nine-day international tour.

Police estimates are very often too low.

Natalie Eggermont, a student at the Free University of Brussels, helped organize the anti-Trump protest with three other college students. They were inspired by the Women’s March, which drew several million people across the U.S. in January.

Eggermont said she wanted to show Trump that his political ideas are not welcome in Belgium — and she wanted to send a message to her country’s leaders not to follow the president’s lead.

“We’re protesting — not against him as a person, but … a certain political ideology,” said Eggermont. “It’s against militarism, against sexism, racism, discrimination.”

Sigrid Dufraimont, a 33-year-old Belgian native, took a train from Ghent to participate in the protest.

“That’s just shocking to me that this behavior is still tolerated in a western society in 2017,” she said, citing the infamous tape of Trump making aggressive and lewd remarks about women.

The protest began at 5 p.m. outside the Brussels-North railway station. Various activists spoke from a stage set up near the train station.

After an hour of speeches and performances, the protesters began a march through the city. Some carried rainbow flags, some held anti-NATO signs, and others wore the pink “pussyhats” popularized during the Women’s March.

“I’m proud to be here with so many people,” 21-year-old Lauren Van Rouwendaal said.

Despite his dislike of Trump, Mommerts, a Belgian native, said he felt optimistic about the future. The 84-year-old was delighted by the demonstration’s turnout and the show of solidarity.

“I can be hopeful if there is a struggle,” he said. “Without struggle, there is no hope.”

NATO cheers Trump’s military budget. Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg hails Trump’s plan to expand military fund: here.

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