Molenbeek residents hold vigil for victims of Paris attacks

Thousands of people gathered on Wednesday in the main square of Molenbeek to pay tribute to the victims of the attacks last Friday in Paris.

Police checks were carried out to ensure the safety of protesters and numerous Belgian and foreign media were present.

Hundreds of candles, provided by local residents, were placed on the pavement of the square, positioned to spell out “Molenbeek”.

The demonstrators wanted to show their solidarity to the French people, shouting “We are all together” and “Islam is peace”.

The mayor of the Brussels municipality, Francoise Schepmans, delivered a speech to the crowd. She offered condolences to the victims in Paris and said she was “deeply shocked” by recent events.

She added: “Molenbeek is not a base for jihadism.”

Molenbeek has been the centre of major police operations in recent days connected to the investigation into Friday’s terror attacks in Paris.

Others present carried signs with messages such as: “I love Molenbeek”. After a speech by the mayor, a minute of silence was held.