By Hilary White
BRUSSELS, March 30, 2010 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Organizers of the first March for Life in Brussels say they are pleased with the international turn-out at the event on Sunday, March 28, with crowds estimated to number about 2000. March organizer Elizabeth Hickson told LifeSiteNews.com (LSN), “We really had no idea what to expect but we were full of excitement despite all the lack of sleep and pressures.”
The event was intended to be a non-political, non-religious “neutral platform where many organizations could come together despite their differences and be united for the end to abortion,” Hickson said.
Marchers were addressed by the recently-appointed Archbishop of Brussels, André-Mutien Léonard, who read a letter from Pope Benedict XVI.
After months of organization and publicity, organizers were delighted with the turn-out from student groups all over Europe. Police had told organizers they expected 300, but finally estimated the crowd as at least 1700.
“We put up our banners and passers-by started asking questions. A whole car of Russians driving by were so shocked so excited they decided to delay their trip and join us. The same thing happened with a group of vacationing Spaniards,” Hickson said.
Speakers included representatives of pro-life and youth groups around Europe, including Cry for Life and Silent No More in the Netherlands, Youth for Life Germany, Youth for Life Austria. Ireland, Spain, Poland, Belgium and the U.S. were also represented.
The Brussels March for Life was the brainchild of Michel de Keukelaere, Hickson said, who came up with the idea independently a year ago. In the end, it was the result of the work of a small group of students and local families who funded it out of their own pockets and with local private donations.
The Brussels group is already planning next year’s event, scheduled for March 27, 2011.
Hickson said, “We wish to say to the media and to the governments that we are a new generation for a culture and society for life. We love our countries and our women, and abortion is deeply wounding both.”