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Lies Corneillie, Alderman for housing in Leuven, posing with the Mayors for Peace flag, Source: City of Leuven

Belgian ‘Mayors for Peace’ stand up for nuclear disarmament

Belgian ‘Mayors for Peace’ stand up for nuclear disarmament

The green and white flag will fly over more than 100 cities in Belgium with mayors appealing for world peace

Today, the ‘Mayors for Peace’ flag is flying over more than 100 cities in Belgium. The flag represents the mayors' dedication towards nuclear disarmament and a show of solidarity with the victims in a collective bid for world peace.

Exactly 76 years ago, The USA dropped the “Little Boy” atomic bomb on Hiroshima and three days later – the “Fat Man” bomb over Nagasaki. More than 200,000 Japanese civilians died in these attacks.

Cities – showing solidarity with the victims

The City of Ypres has been involved in the 'Mayors for Peace' network for over 15 years and as the leading city for Belgium in this initiative, it called on all the country's mayors to reflect on past horrors.

More than 100 Belgian cities and municipalities have replied that they will raise the flag on 6 August at 8.15 AM and lower it on 9 August at 11.02 AM, exactly when the two bombs hit the Japanese cities, causing instant devastation.

The Mayor of Kortrijk, Philippe De Coene, will raise the green and white colours in front of the town hall for the first time this year.  He called for urgent work on global nuclear disarmament as there are currently 15,000 a-bombs in the world and they are, on average, 30 times more powerful than the ones dropped over Japan. Considering these numbers, he believes that the threat of nuclear war is more present than ever.

At the same time, Leuven signed the ICAN Cities Appeal, a global appeal by cities and municipalities in support of the UN Nuclear Prohibition Treaty, which entered into force on 22 January this year. Belgium has yet to sign or ratify the treaty.

The Leuven Peace Movement will also commemorate Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and together with Pax Christi Vlaanderen put together a month-long programme in August. There will be an exhibition called 'No more hibakusha! A future without nuclear weapons’ in St. Michael's Church with works of art by Japanese artists and students. 

Furthermore, visitors of Leuven will be able to participate in the audio-guided walk – ‘Leuven, before the bombs fall’ until November. The route goes to various places in the city with stories about nuclear weapons told by well-known Leuven residents. City officials expressed their desire to make residents think about a nuclear-weapons-free future.

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