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Belgium Marks Moment of Silence for Victims of Brussels Attacks

  • Lisa Bryant

People scrawl messages on the sidewalk at the Place de la Bourse in downtown Brussels in response to the terrorist attacks that left dozens of people dead, March 23, 2016. (L. Bryant/VOA)

People scrawl messages on the sidewalk at the Place de la Bourse in downtown Brussels in response to the terrorist attacks that left dozens of people dead, March 23, 2016. (L. Bryant/VOA)

Belgians marked a minute of silence Wednesday for the victims of the Brussels terrorist attacks, as authorities identified two of the suicide bombers in the assaults that killed more than 30 people and injured around 270 others.

Hundreds gathered at the Place de la Bourse in downtown Brussels to light candles and scrawl messages of love and peace on the wide sidewalk.

As the day turned into evening, the gathering became boisterous as participants sang, chanted and waved Belgian flags.

"I'm still in shock about what happened," said city hall worker Suzanne Ibrahim, 31, who lit a candle for a friend who was injured during Tuesday's suicide attack in a Brussels subway car.

"He's still in intensive care and we don't know whether he's going to make it or not," she added.

A woman mourns as hundreds of people gather at the Place de la Bourse in downtown Brussels following the terrorist attacks that left dozens of people dead, March 23, 2016. (L. Bryant/VOA)

A woman mourns as hundreds of people gather at the Place de la Bourse in downtown Brussels following the terrorist attacks that left dozens of people dead, March 23, 2016. (L. Bryant/VOA)

Other were outraged at the attackers.

"These people are just scum and thieves," said Pierre Gilles, 62. "They have nothing to do with Islam."

Many Muslims also attended the Brussels rally, singing songs in Arabic and French. Some are now worried of a backlash.

"Yes, I sometimes feel stigmatized," said Larbi Arbaoui, an ethnic Moroccan who was born and raised in Brussels. "But we must move forward together."

At the Maalbeek station, top Belgian and European Union officials also observed a moment of silence for the victims.

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