Thousands march in Brussels for Gaza ceasefire
Several thousand people marched in Brussels on Sunday afternoon to demand an immediate ceasefire in Gaza. According to Brussels police, around 27,000 demonstrators took to the streets. Earlier on Sunday, the Israeli government rejected European calls for an "immediate and lasting ceasefire", saying it would be a "gift to Hamas".
The Gaza Strip has been heavily bombed by the Israeli army since Hamas launched a surprise attack on Israel on 7 October. On the Israeli side, 1,400 people were killed in the attack. In Gaza, 18,800 people - including 8,000 children and 6,200 women - have already lost their lives, according to the Hamas government.
The demonstrators are calling on the Belgian government to do all it can to force Israel into an immediate and permanent ceasefire.
Arriving in Israel on Sunday morning, French Foreign minister Catherine Colonna immediately appealed to the Israeli government for "a new immediate and lasting ceasefire" in Gaza. "Too many civilians have been killed," she said. Israel's Foreign minister, Eli Cohen, made it clear after the meeting that there could be no ceasefire. He said it would be "a mistake" and "a gift to Hamas".
Earlier in the day, the German and British Foreign ministers, Annalena Baerbock and David Cameron, had also called for a "lasting ceasefire" in a joint article in the Sunday Times.
© BELGA PHOTO HATIM KAGHAT