'Pray for Brussels': What people were saying online after attacks


Tuesday's terrorism attacks in Brussels were met almost immediately with outpourings of emotion and displays of solidarity online.

The word "Brussels" in various languages dominated Twitter's list of top worldwide trends. Under the French word for the city - Bruxelles - the most widely shared image was one drawn by Plantu, a cartoonist for the French newspaper Le Monde. It explicitly linked the November attacks in Paris to Tuesday's bombings:


Plantu also drew one of the most widely shared images after the Charlie Hebdo attacks in January 2015.

"Pray for Belgium", "Pray for Brussels" and "Je Suis Bruxelles" were among the most popular Twitter slogans, all used tens of thousands of times in the hours after the attacks. A popular set of memes used adaptations of the famous Belgian cartoon character Tintin and many people posted images incorporating the black, yellow and red of the Belgian flag:

tin tin crying
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tin tin
prayers "Thoughts for Brussels and all of Belgium"

Other tributes incorporated Brussels landmarks such as The Atomium - a huge building based on a model of an atom originally constructed for the 1958 World's Fair - and Manneken Pis, a famous statue of a urinating small boy.

atomium This tribute includes a drawing of the Atomium
"A little message for the terrorists" "A little message for the terrorists"

Outside the city's stock exchange, people chalked messages on the pavement in an apparently spontaneous tribute to the victims:

stock exchange

Inside Belgium, a cluster of hashtags offering help including "Brussels lift", "open house", "ik wil helpen" ("I want to help") and "porte ouvert" ("open door") started trending as people offered assistance to those left stranded by the closing of the airport and the city's transport network. For further updates on the attacks, head to the BBC's live coverage page.

Blog by Mike Wendling

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