We were very few in front of the 127bis closed centre to encourage the detainees among whom 30 are on hunger strike. Quite sad, all the more since the detainees had organised themselves and were expecting us. In the backyard of the first building, they were over 50 with their banners, shouting for liberty, expressing their anger and incomprehension of their arbitrary imprisonment. The management had allowed them to stay there until 2.30 p.m. Then they refused to go back inside, and long exchanges were possible between the demonstrators and the detainees. They told us about the absurdity of their detention, the violence in the centre, their arrests etc. Many Iraqis were arrested at the Foreigners Office when introducing their asylum requests. One may wonder if it is a deliberate policy aiming at discouraging Iraqi refugees – notably those who are still present in the Maximilien parc- from requesting asylum in Belgium. In any case, these massive detentions will have that effect. Is it a decision by the Minister Francken, or by a very powerful administration that no one controls anymore? It is to be clarified, but the process followed is iniquitous.
The detainees are either asking for their transfer to an open centre for their asylum request to be dealt with, or for an Order to leave the territory to be able to leave this “bullshit country” that doesn’t want to welcome them and “treats them like animals”. Others have been in Belgium for 10 years sometimes and they have wives and/or children here. They all tell us that the centre is a real prison and that it should not exist, that it is a place of lawlessness. Others say that they will continue their hunger strike, that they will not give up the fight. One man climbed on the roof of the centre with banners and he was shouting “Anarchia, Liberta!”.
A police cordon prevented us from meeting the prisoners in the second wing. They told us that the tension was too high there and that it could degenerate into a riot inside the centre. Seen the number of policemen and demonstrators, we had to renounce, and we stayed there in front of the cordon cooking under the sun.
The detainees want to speak with the media. They also want to meet a representative of the Foreigners Office as well as Theo Francken who apparently hastened to say he refused!
At 9 p.m. the detainees were stil in the backyard, and the one on the roof threatened to jump and commit suicide. A very large “security” cordon was established around the centre. Three friends who wanted to enter were arrested.
They could get close to the centre before their arrest. Several detainees of the second wing were in the backyard and they were all shouting for freedom, happy to see new people coming to support them. These detinees were forced to go back inside around 11 p.m. by the “police special forces”. This morning, the three militants who had been arrested were released and the detainee who was on the roof was arrested and placed in a confinement cell.
We also heard that 2 Somalians have been on hunger strike since their arrival at the centre and that they are in a very bad state. Their co-detainees are extremely concerned. They say that they are letting them die in silence! Other (bad) news, “plane tickets are being distributed” to the “Dublin” people and the deportations are increasing, one of the means they use to get rid of these killjoy!
Vidéo here: 20150920_145521-liberte