Tens ofthousands of Belgians have staged a march to call for national unity and demanda government after seven months of political impasse. ( See BBC Report Here )
'Shame' protest in Brussels calls for a Belgian government:
About 50,000 people joined the "Shame: no government, great country" march inBrussels, organisers said. Police put the number at 34,000.
Belgium isdivided between Dutch speakers in the north and French speakers in the south.
A caretakergovernment has run the country since elections in June 2010.
The bestperformer in that vote was the centre-right New Flemish Alliance (NVA) partyheaded by Bart De Wever, which wants more power for Flanders and has spoken ofultimately pursuing independence.
'Beer, chips and a government'
The party hasbeen unable to agree on a government in negotiations with with FrancophoneSocialists, resulting in a deadlock that has lasted 224 days - a Europeanrecord.
The stalematehas led to fears that the wealthier, Flemish north could secede.
The march,organised on the social networking website Facebook, was one of severalinitiatives by campaigners for unity.
Inside Story - Belgium in crisis - 04 Dec 07 (Al Jazeera):
"We wantbeer, chips and a government," said one banner, referring to two ofBelgium's best known products.
One of theorganisers, Thomas Decreus, said the march was meant to show that "thepeople can act where politicians fail: i.e., working together across thelanguage barrier".
The financialmarkets have been unsettled by the political crisis and concerns that Belgiansovereign debt is close to 100% of gross domestic product.
In one of theother efforts to promote Belgian unity, actor Benoit Poelvoorde is heading acampaign for people not to shave until a government is formed.
So far, 653 people have signed up on the campaign's website - including atleast one woman who pledged to stop shaving her legs.
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