Vancouver mourners show support for victims of Brussels attacks

Dozens of people gathered on the steps of the Vancouver Art Gallery Wednesday evening for a sombre vigil to show support for the victims of the Brussels airport and metro bombings.

'I could feel it in my heart,' says Vancouver woman who once lived in Belgium

Mourners gathered outside the Vancouver Art Gallery Wednesday evening to show support for the victims of the Brussels airport and metro bombings. (Jared Thomas)

Dozens of people gathered at the Vancouver Art Gallery Wednesday evening for a vigil to show support for the victims of the Brussels airport and metro bombings.

The mourners, who huddled under umbrellas on a rainy evening, draped a flag of Belgium on the gallery's stairs. Some carried placards of a teary Tintin, a beloved Belgian cartoon character.

The attacks in Brussels Tuesday left at least 30 people dead and injured scores of others.

Francoise De Pauw is the president of the Belgian Canadian Association of British Columbia. De Pauw organized the Wednesday vigil in Vancouver for victims of the Brussels attacks (Tina :Lovgreen/CBC)

 Francoise De Pauw, the president of the Belgian Canadian Association of British Columbia, organized the event to show support for the people in her homeland.

"This is a sad day for us," De Pauw told the group. "And I think that like Tintin, we are crying for our country and our fellow citizens who are victims of this terrible attack."

 After De Pauw spoke, the group sang Belgium's national anthem, held a moment of silence, lit candles and passed around Belgium chocolates.

Many of the people at the vigil were either from Belgium, or have family there.

Stephanie Bolton once lived in Belgium. (Tina Lovgreen/CBC)

"It is horrible," said Stephanie Bolton, who lived there with her husband, who is Belgian. "I was there not that long ago.

"It's my neighbourhood, it is as much my town as Vancouver is, and it hurts. I think any time you live somewhere you leave a piece of your heart there and I could feel it in my heart." 
 

Anne Sweldenes has family in Belgium. (Tina Lovgreen)

Anne Sweldenes has a nephew who lives in Brussels and rides the metro. Sweldenes came to the vigil to show "solidarity with everybody, to show them that we care, that we live with them and wish them all the best and hopefully we can give them some strength to get through this difficult time." 

Bart Schobben, who attended Wednesday's vigil, is Belgium's trade commissioner in Vancouver. (Tina Lovgreen)

Bart Schobben, Belgium's trade commissioner in Vancouver, said Brussels is his hometown.

"We, as Belgians and other Europeans, we will never accept this," Schobben said. "We have to stop this madness of intolerant people."


with files from Kamil Karamali

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