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Police want to concentrate resources on investigation into blasts that killed 31

Brussels ‘March Against Fear’ canceled… over security fears

At request of police, organizers call off rally intended to show solidarity after last week’s deadly terror attacks

People gather on Place de la Bourse square in Brussels to pay tribute to the victims of the Brussels terror attacks, on March 25, 2016. (AFP/BELGA/Aurore Belot)
People gather on Place de la Bourse square in Brussels to pay tribute to the victims of the Brussels terror attacks, on March 25, 2016. (AFP/BELGA/Aurore Belot)

BRUSSELS — The organizers of a “March Against Fear” planned for Sunday to mark the Brussels terror attacks said they had cancelled the event after the authorities asked them to do so because of security fears.

“We understand this request. The security of our citizens is an absolute priority. We join the authorities in proposing a delay and ask people not to come this Sunday,” the organizers said in a statement on Saturday. The organizers of a “March Against Fear” planned for Sunday to mark the Brussels terror attacks said they had cancelled the event after the authorities asked them to do so because of security fears.

“We understand this request. The security of our citizens is an absolute priority. We join the authorities in proposing a delay and ask people not to come this Sunday,” the organizers said in a statement on Saturday.

The authorities earlier asked for the march to be put off, perhaps for several weeks, to allow the police to concentrate their resources on the investigation into the attacks which left 31 dead and 300 wounded.

“We invite the citizens tomorrow to not have this manifestation,” Interior Minister Jan Jambon said, speaking in English.

In an earlier statement, the organizers said the march planned for Sunday was meant to show that Brussels and the country at large refused to be intimidated by terrorism and that everyone stood together.

“This week, we, Belgian citizens have been attacked, in how we live, our customs, our rights, our liberty,” they said.

“The first reaction in such events is to withdraw but on reflection, fear must give way to hope and the defense of our values.”

Three police officers stand guard at the Meiser neighborhood in Schaarbeek on March 25, 2016 during an anti-terrorist operation searching for suspects of March 22 terrorist attacks in Brussels. (AFP/Belga/LAURIE DIEFFEMBACQ)
Three police officers stand guard at the Meiser neighborhood in Schaarbeek on March 25, 2016 during an anti-terrorist operation searching for suspects of March 22 terrorist attacks in Brussels. (AFP/Belga/Laurie Dieffembacq)

The march was due to begin at 2:00 pm (1300 GMT) at the central Place de La Bourse which, carpeted with flowers and tributes, has turned into a shrine to the victims.

Brussels mayor Yvan Mayeur said he recognized and shared the feelings of those who wanted to participate but given the absolute need for the police to focus on the attacks, it was best to delay the march.

“Let us allow the security services to do their work and that the march, which we too want to take part in, be delayed for several weeks,” Mayeur told a press conference with Jambon at the national crisis center.

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