Brussels: Asylum seekers climbing on cranes

There have been similar cases in the past few months where several illegal immigrants climbed cranes in order to force the authorities to give them residence permits, but never on such a scale.


About 30 illegal immigrants have climbed up and occupied seven cranes in Brussels.  Twenty three are on four difference cranes in a wharf next to the Brouckère Square and seven others climbed up yesterday afternoon on a crane on the corner of Emile Jacqmainlaan and Mechelsestraat.  Six others have meanwhile occupied a crane in the Schuman Square and an unknown number are on a crane next to the Museum of Fine Arts.

In the Brouckère Square there are 30 asylum on four cranes on a wharf next to a casino being built, according to a student of CAS, the committee supporting the hunger strikes of asylum seekers at the Université Libre of Brussels (ULB).

The student reported that they are now occupying all the cranes on the wharf and have spent the night on various level of the crane.  All of them are on a hunger strike and a few are also not drinking.  For them it's the only way to get a residence permit.

The supporting committee (CAS) had a protest in the Brouckère Square yesterday.  They wanted to draw the attention of the politicians to the fate of 100,000 illegals who live in Belgium.  They say they understand the actions of the crane occupiers.

Last night a number of people climbed up a crane at the museum of fine arts.  It's not clear how many people are there.  This morning seven Moroccans climbed up a crane in the Schuman Square.  The student added that not all the people are part of the ULB hunger strikers.  There are also people who had been part of the Sint-Joost-ten-Node protest (*) and had now gone a step further.

The demonstrators said they were shocked by the criminal and discriminating politics of the Immigration Minister.  They called it blackmail politics which encourage hunger strikes and suicide attempts meant to get a residence permit.

The Brussels police is present in the various places.

(*) A group of illegal immigrants were set to occupy with permission a hall in Sint-Joost-ten-Node (Brussels), but at the last moment the municipality called it off, saying there was no point in the protest as it will not bring to a complete solution.

Source: HLN (Dutch)

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