“Policemen dressed up in firemen!”

On 16th of November, 8 undocumented people climbed two cranes in Brussels. Most of them had been on the Belgian territory for more than 10 years. Many have been involved in movements of fight for the undocumented for several years. They acted again to claim for the access to these bloody papers.

Mediations took place during three days. The Foreigners Office proposed them to come to their offices in order to discuss the issue. Out of mistrust they refused and finally asked the Foreigners Office to get a document certifying that their dossier would be reviewed, which the latter refused.

Exhausted after two nights and a third day at the top of the cranes shaken by the wind and the rain, four of them decided to go down willingly. The other four however deciced to stay up the cranes. Firemen then climbed the cranes, but surprise-surprise, they were policemen dressed up in firemen!

The four people were forced to go down and the 8 of them were directly arrested and brought to the police station.

After a contact with the Foreigners Office, two of them were released and the other six brought to our closed centres in view of their deportation out of the country.

Therefore, currently, one woman is being retained in Bruges, three men in the closed centre in Vottem (one of them has been released after almost a week of detention), another one in the closed centre of Merksplas and a last one in the 127bis closed centre in Steenokkerzeel. Let’s take good note of the dispersion and organised distance among them to separate them and make visits even more complicated.

Even though this action may seen ‘unprepared’ to many, happening at the ‘wrong time’ or ‘with no concertation’, it reflects the emergency and the need to find a solution for the undocumented and the need of some of them to relaunch the fight to get this piece of paper which would enable them to live.

According to one of our contacts, the 127bis closed centre is overcrowded. A majority of the detainees are of Moroccan or Afghan origin. They were arrested on the street, at home or at the Foreigners Office. Many of them have wives, children, a job for many years here in Belgium and they were living a normal life although underground and limited seen the absence of papers.

Echoes from the closed centres:

    ‘New people arriving every day, deportations every day, releases very rarely’

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