Migrants living in a squat in the centre of Brussels have declared they will ignore a court order to abandon the premises.
A number of would-be asylum-seekers moved into the building at Wetstraat 89 in April, which is located opposite the headquarters of the Christian Democratic and Flemish (CD&V) party, which is part of Belgium’s ruling coalition.
Their decision to remain was slammed by Barbara Pas, a senior representative in the Belgian Parliament for Vlaams Belang, who demanded a police clampdown on the group.
“Whoever tolerates squatting as a means of blackmail shows no decisiveness and will fall victim to blackmail again and again,” she told Brussels Signal.
A Brussels court ruled that the building must be evacuated by August 31.
That has been ignored by the migrants, who have struggled to find accommodation anywhere else due in part to a crackdown by authorities.
“Where should we go?” asked one migrant squatting at the site who described having to refuse other would-be asylum-seekers entry because there was little space left.
“I regret coming to Belgium,” he said. “I didn’t know it was going to be like this here. They had told me that there was shelter for everyone.”
The Belgian State Secretary for Asylum and Migration Nicole De Moor has decided that single male asylum seekers will no longer receive shelter in her country. https://t.co/16Q8fi0HJt
— Brussels Signal (@brusselssignal) August 31, 2023
The migrants have now said they will remain on the premises until forced out by police.
Pas complained that it had already taken four months for Brussels to get a court order to evict the migrants, arguing that their decision to subsequently ignore the ruling was unacceptable.
“The fact that they are now simply ignoring a court order says enough about how high the activists and asylum-seekers [relate to] our rule of law,” she said.
The Vlaams Belang representative went on to call for the “leftist activists” involved in the squat to be “arrested and severely punished”.
“Are we really going to give the signal that they can continue to blackmail us?” she added.
The Italian island of Lampedusa saw another huge influx of migrants over the weekend. https://t.co/YwvwDzSe9v
— Brussels Signal (@brusselssignal) August 28, 2023