It is beginning to become a time-honoured tradition. Since 1992, thousands walk through the Eindhoven city centre carrying lit torches on Christmas Eve. This Saturday evening drew thousands, a long procession of citizens who had joined to express their desire for peace and inclusion.
City poet Iris Penning read a poem and sang a song on the Wilhelminaplein stage before the procession went under way. Scouting group Johannes Vianney carried the Light of Peace, the flame they had brought from Vienna. Mayor Jeroen Dijsselbloem emphasised the idea behind the procession: an opportunity to devote thought to the importance of tolerance, acceptance and repect.
What prompted the initiative 30 years ago?
After all, the procession was initiated in 1992 after a spate of attacks on migrants by right-wing extremists in several places in Europe. In 1993, an attack on Turkish migrants in the German city of Solingen killed five girls and women.
Dijsselbloem also emphasised the importance of speaking out, of standing up against intolerance and making one’s voice heard. He mentioned the incident in Someren last month, where arsonists set fire to a planned refugee shelter for asylum seekers.
transalted and edited by Greta