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Liège shooting: 3,000 people join white march to commemorate victims
More than 3,000 people paid tribute to the victims of Liège’s shooting in a white march on Sunday afternoon, said Liège police.
Participants were invited to wear white in honour of the three people killed in the centre of Liège on Tuesday. Crowds gathered at Espace Tivoli before walking to the site of the shooting in Boulevard d’Avroy, accompanied by police. There they laid flowers and lit candles before symbolically releasing 1,000 white balloons.
The funeral service for 22 year-old Cyril Vangriecken, shot while sitting in his mother’s car, is taking place today. Police officers Lucile Garcia and Soraya Belkacemi are to be given an official funeral ceremony on Tuesday. Their coffins will be driven side by side to Liège’s Robertmont cemetery.
The two officers are to be awarded first-class Civic Crosses for their acts of courage, devotion and humanity. “This is the highest civil distinction in Belgium, and only awarded posthumously,” Liège police said on Friday.
All three victims were killed by Benjamin Herman when he went on a shooting spree in the centre of Liège on Tuesday. On temporary release from prison, Herman was shot dead by police.
The federal prosecutor has opened a terrorism investigation. A separate investigation has been opened into the murder of Michael Wilmet, allegedly killed by Herman the night before the Liège incident.
Federal justice minister Koen Geens (CD&V) told VTM news on Sunday that it was not right to detain terrorists or radicalised people in prison for the duration of the terrorist threat by Islamic State. Responding to a proposition along these lines by the N-VA party on Friday, Geens said, “I prefer not to create a Guantanamo in Belgium”.
He underlined that the authorities would continue to track convicted terrorists and radicalised prisoners once they were freed from prison. “These people, once they have served their time, will be monitored by local task forces, police, security forces and the courts.”
Geens is due to make a further announcement on the Liège shootings at a Justice Chamber commission on Monday afternoon.
Photo: Nicolas Maeterlinck/Belga