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Police Continue To Arrest Terror Suspects In Europe


Brussels continues to reel from this week's terror attacks. Those bombings killed more than 30 people and injured more than 300. Belgians and non-Belgians have responded with demonstrations. Some of them have been organized, often not. An unofficial solidarity rally called the March Against Fear was being planned for tomorrow morning, and that has now been postponed after Belgian authorities appealed to the other organizers of the rally and asked them not to gather. The police say they're just stretched too thin with the ongoing investigation into Tuesday's attacks. Eleanor Beardsley joins us from Brussels. Eleanor, thanks for being with us.

ELEANOR BEARDSLEY, BYLINE: Good to be with you, Scott.

SIMON: And help us understand why and how this is going on.

BEARDSLEY: Yeah. Well, OK, I'm at the Place de la Bourse, which is this old stock exchange. It's an old building in the center. And this is where people have been coming since Tuesday to light candles, lay flowers and to write messages in chalk on the sidewalk. And so the march was supposed start here tomorrow, as you said, the March Against Fear, but officials have canceled it because they cannot guarantee security, they say.

And I've been talking to people here and, you know, I actually announced the news to one guy, and he was extremely disappointed. He said, you know, I was going to come. This is a chance for all people of all religions to come out. I'm looking at banners that say no, not in the name Islam, you know, so he was disappointed. And then I spoke with another Belgian, and I think he put it the way people are feeling. He said, I'm torn. He said, on one hand, I'm very disappointed because I wanted to come out and march, he said, but I'm also increasingly angry when I hear that Belgian security, Belgian intelligence authorities, had clues that something like this could have happened.

And they should've closed the metro and they haven't done what they should have done, he said, so in some ways, I think they're right. Something else could happen here and they don't want, you know, thousands of people gathering. So he said he was torn about the decision.

SIMON: Now, I gather, just from someone who was - an assiduous reading of the newswires today, that a number of cancellations, high-profile cancellations, have occurred in Brussels - concerts, religious services. Do you know anything about that?

BEARDSLEY: You know, Scott, I haven't heard that, but I tell you it is a little bit unsettling because in Paris after the attacks people immediately and spontaneously gathered and then they had an official march where millions showed up and no one canceled any of those. So it does make you think if they're not letting this go forward, you know, are there real fears that something else is in the planning?

SIMON: Well, there - and I wonder what you can tell us in the 45 seconds we have left about anything new about the investigation and the number of apprehensions that have been made.

BEARDSLEY: Absolutely. They've detained a number of people in raids for two days across the city. And today they filed formal charges against at least two people, and maybe it's three. It's consequently changing from, you know, terrorists to murder. And one of those people Belgian media is speculating is that third person from the surveillance video footage at the airport, the three guys with their trolley and their bags. They say that he's the third one they've just filed charges against.

SIMON: Eleanor Beardsley...

BEARDSLEY: But we don't have that confirmed yet.

SIMON: All right, well, thank very much for standing by and being with us. NPR's Eleanor Beardsley speaking with us...

BEARDSLEY: Thank you, Scott.

SIMON: ...From the streets of Brussels where she's been covering the ongoing investigation into Tuesday's bombings. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

Eleanor Beardsley
Eleanor Beardsley began reporting from France for NPR in 2004 as a freelance journalist, following all aspects of French society, politics, economics, culture and gastronomy. Since then, she has steadily worked her way to becoming an integral part of the NPR Europe reporting team.