Raid at Brussels North station 10/10/2021 10/10/202

Raid: systemic racism inherent in the police and the state. 

On Saturday evening, a raid took place at the North station of Brussels.  32 people were arrested. 
For several days now, the actors of the North station district, inhabitants, shopkeepers and businesses located in the neighbourhood, have been worried about the growing “insecurity” in the neighbourhood. This concern has been outed by the mayors of Brussels and Schaerbeek as well as by the media, including La Libre Belgique . Article here and here

Faced with this situation, the federal police and the police of the Brussels North area announced that they were preparing an intervention

This lively neighbourhood is regularly stigmatized by the media, the police and a part of the population for many years.  The police have been intervening very regularly for decades in this neighbourhood.The pretext of insecurity in this district was an additional opportunity for the authorities to show their muscles and to carry out a nice communication operation. Scapegoats were found to take responsibility for the so-called “violence and incivilities”.

 On Saturday evening, 09/10 2021, we were told “A dozen police vans, a bus, horses, dogs spotted in the North station district.  

This is the police arsenal that was deployed. This intervention, defined by some media as a simple large-scale police operation, has a name: a raid. That is to say: a police operation of interpellation and mass arrest of people taken at random on the public highway or targeting a particular population”. The authorities are aware that many migrants in transit, without accommodation, gather at the North station  at weekends until the lorry traffic resumes during the week and they can resume their journey. 

 As is almost always the case, certain media have relayed this communication linking theft, drugs, delinquency and… undocumented people. As a link of cause and effect. We would like to denounce this muddy comparison, which is stained with stereotypes and lacks any contextualization. The statements of the police relayed by the press, without any critical analysis, are only mediocre attempts to divert attention from repressive practices towards people in exile. They also attempt to justify raids in the eyes of public opinion, to make a racist and xenophobic practice invisible, or worse, to justify it by criminalizing migrants and others: media info: “25 people were not in possession of a residence permit, and 7 were in possession of knives or drugs”  

We want to make clear that we reject the response to what is considered “delinquency”. The police will never be a solution. Repression will never be an answer to what the police state claims to fight (theft, delinquency, violence…). On the contrary, the police war on the poor, on young people in the neighbourhoods, on so-called “racialized” people, on migrants. It amplifies the institutional violence against all these people. 

Since there is no mention of this in the articles published on the subject, we would like to remind you, once again, that the violence is generally not by migrants, but against migrants. An administrative, moral and sometimes physical violence, structural, generalized and assumed by the authorities for the purpose of dissuasion. A racist policy. An inhumane policy. An unbearable policy. A violent policy, known to those in exile and also known to the countries of departure with which Europe has no hesitation in signing agreements on migration. Countries where torture and human trafficking are the order of the day, to keep migrants away from European shores. The outsourcing of borders by Europe causing situations in Libya, Algeria, Niger, …. are only the best known examples.   But it is not necessary to cross our borders to discover the unacceptable. Violence, repression and racist brutality on European soil, and in this case in Belgium, are also a daily occurrence. Roundups, closed centers, police violence, expulsions, rarely make the headlines. 

Here is the testimony we received from a person who was there:      

   “There were about 10 cop combis with a bus full of cops, strongly equipped”, there were also 2 cops with dogs, at least 4 horses, they blocked the entrance of the North station on the side of the BNP Fortis, there were dozens of arrests (they filled up the bus and the combis). At one point, they shouted to their colleague to call an ambulance, they took out one of the people who had been arrested and held him down for several minutes (I filmed a lot because the guy was handcuffed on the ground and surrounded by 5 cops, one of whom had a collar cover up to his eyes. I didn’t arrive at the beginning, but from the moment I started filming it lasted 40 minutes”.     

Saturday night’s raid is just one more example of the systemic racism inherent in the police and the state. 
In his statements to the press, Police Commissioner De Beule announced: “We will be implementing numerous actions in the coming weeks”. 

Let’s be ready to react. 

The Anti-Rafle Committee  

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