Photo of the week: Brussels Calling

Summary

Hundreds attended an event in Brussels’ Grote Markt yesterday to wave goodbye to the UK as it officially leaves the European Union

Deadline: midnight

The historical buildings on Brussels’ Grote Markt were bathed in lights of red, white and blue yesterday evening in an official event to bid the UK farewell. The country officially leaves the European Union at midnight tonight local time.

Several hundred people attended the Brussels Calling event, sponsored by Brussels-City. It featured British marching bands, a costumed Sherlock Holmes and Watson and those tell-tale black cabs and red telephone boxes.

Celtic and other British musicians played the stage, and, not far away, Manneken Pis was dressed as UK national symbol John Bull. Inside the Town Hall, Brussels-City mayor Philippe Close and British ambassador Martin Shearman delivered speeches.

I think communicating and extending the hand of friendship is the most important thing in our world right now

- British citizen at Brussels Calling

“I don’t want to send the British a negative message,” said mayor Close. “There are so many families who live here. Seven thousand British people live in Brussels, and 20,000 in Belgium.”

Many of those families were in the square yesterday, talking to reporters. “We wanted to mark the day, a very sad day for us,” one woman told Bruzz. “I’m personally devastated and very depressed that we’re leaving the European Union.”

Another woman said she was grateful that Brussels was coming out in support of its British citizens. “It’s really important,” she said. “I don’t think people quite realise how things are going to work out, what’s going to happen. But I think always communicating and extending the hand of friendship is the most important thing in our world right now – especially in Europe.”

Ambassador Shearman has spent the first seven months of his remit in Belgium talking to citizens about Brexit. “After many conversations, I know how much they feel at home here. I would like to thank Philippe Close and the City of Brussels for the warm welcome, not just tonight but every day.”

Photo: Nicolas Landemard/Le Pictorium/MAXPPP/BELGA