Since 5am this morning, around 60 activists from various European
countries have been blockading the site of a new planned detention centre
in Steenokkerzeel, near Brussels. The activists are locked-on in various
locations on the site. One lock-on weighing several hundred kilos is
blocking the access to the main entrance. This action is to continue
throughout the day to halt work on the site.
There are currently six detention centres in Belgium in which male, female
and child sans-papiers (migrants, literally, ‘without papers’) are
detained. While the Belgian State has been repeatedly condemned by the
European Court of Human Rights for its immigration policies, a new camp is
being constructed in which the same practices are to be implemented.
One activist explained, “Detention centres for sans-papiers are areas
beyond the reach of law in which human beings are deprived of their
freedom despite the fact that they’ve committed no crime other than to
want to escape poverty, war and oppression. They are inhuman structures,
and yet are only the visible manifestation of policies based on racial
discrimination. These immigration policies repress sans-papiers, deprive
them of their rights, exploit their labour leaving them in a position of complete insecurity.”
The activists summarised their message with the slogan, “No Borders, No
Today’s blockade is aimed at denouncing racist immigration policies. We
call for the closure of detention centres for foreigners, regularisation
of undocumented migrants and the opening of the borders.
“This action is comprised of international activists as the repression of
migrants is now international. Europe is closing its borders and building
camps. Migration has always existed and always will. To continue to try
and impede it will only result in cruelty and violence,” added one of the
Delaying the incarceration of human beings by one day may be a small
action, but at the same time it is a great one.
It is a moment of power which challenges the dominant discourse on
…we will not stop here…