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Charleroi names street in honour of Patrice Lumumba
Charleroi has become the first town in Belgium to name a street in honour of Patrice Lumumba, the first prime minister of the Democratic Republic of the Congo - a month before Brussels plans to do the same.
Lumumba's son, Guy Patrice, attended the inauguration and unveiled a plaque at Charleroi city hall. "This is a proud moment of recognition," he said. "My father always fought for the Congo and Belgium to build a common future."
Lumumba was instrumental in gaining Congolese independence from the former Belgian colony. After just over two months in office during the summer of 1960, he was assassinated by the Katangan state, a Congolese break-away movement supported and funded by the Belgian state.
The project to rename Charleroi's Rue Pasteur as Rue Lumumba was led by town councillor Gaetan Bangisa, who is of Congolese origin. He hopes the renaming will provide an opportunity for local schools to discuss Belgium's colonial past.
In Brussels, a square next to the Porte de Namur, on the corner of the Chaussée d'Ixelles and Rue du Champ de Mars, will be renamed in Lumumba's honour on 30 June, on the occasion of the 58th anniversary of Congo's independence from Belgium. Several linked events will also be held at Brussels city hall to mark the occasion.