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Second protest for two-year-old killed by police bullet

15:46 22/05/2018
As accusations continue to pile up in the wake of the death of a two-year-old Kurdish girl during a police chase last week, a second protest is being held in Brussels

A protest is scheduled for Wednesday against the death of two-year-old Mawda Shawri, who was hit by a stray police bullet last week. The shooting occurred during a police chase with a van operated by human traffickers.

Approximately 15 police vehicles were ultimately chasing the van on the E42 between Namur and Mons in the early morning hours of 17 May. According to police, when the driver of the van began trying to ram police vehicles, an officer shot at him.

The van was stopped by a police barricade and it was discovered that the toddler, riding in the back of the van behind the driver, had been hit by the bullet. She died in an ambulance on the way to hospital.

A further 29 Kurdish migrants were found in the back of the van. It is now known that they were on their way to the UK.

‘Flawed migration policy’

A protest took place on Friday in Brussels, with 250 people marching past the Immigration Office and the office of federal justice minister Jan Jambon. The group (pictured) demanded the resignation of migration secretary Theo Francken, whose “flawed migration policy,” it said, led to the tragic incident.

“How is it possible that police officers begin to shoot at a van that they know is full of people?” asked Alexis Deswaef of the Belgian League of Human Rights. “That is the question we need to ask.”

He went on to call the incident “a dramatic illustration of what is wrong with the approach to human trafficking. Our policies are just making human traffickers rich. We push the migrants directly into their hands; they have no other choice.”

Yesterday, it was reported that Mawda’s parents were held in a police cell and were not told that their daughter had died for two days. They were then told that their daughter had not died from a police bullet and then later told that she had.

Justice for Mawda

They now have a lawyer, who says they are demanding a parliamentary investigation into the shooting. A police investigation is underway, and prime minister Charles Michel said that an independent investigation would also begin.

Wednesday’s protest, Justice for Mawda, is from 17.30 to 19.30 in front of the Justice Palace. The group Coordination Semira Adamu is organising the protest. It was formed in 1998 following the death of asylum-seeker Semira Adamu at the hands of police.

The organisation is asking participants at Wednesday’s protest to bring a piece of children’s clothing to hang on a wash line. “Mawda’s death was made possible because of an immigration policy in force in Europe, which is being implemented by the Michel government,” the organisation said on its Facebook page. “And it is the same policy and disgusting ideology behind it that led to the death of Semira Adamu 20 years ago.”

A wake for Mawda will be held from 22.00 to 23.00, also in front of the Justice Palace.

Photo: Last Friday’s protest in Brussels against the death of two-year-old Mawda Shawri
©Nicolas Maeterlinck/BELGA

Written by Lisa Bradshaw

Comments

Anon3

They entered the country illegally and refused to stop when ordered to by the police. So imo the parents/adults in the van must shoulder a lot of the responsibility for the tragic death of an innocent toddler.

May 23, 2018 09:50