In line with the measure taken by Vincent De Wolf, the Mayor of Etterbeek, which spread to several Wallonia towns within a few hours yesterday, on Monday evening the Mayor of Verviers, Muriel Targnion, announced the authorisation granted to the police. Through making an administrative arrest, they can hold anybody who is homeless and refusing to go to locations made specifically available for them in the event of the extreme cold, thus forcing such homeless to stay inside overnight.
According to information available to her, several homeless people are refusing to go to the Maison Marie Louise, a transit structure, at the Social Emergency Service, or as a last resort specifically heated rooms, and are preferring to stay on the streets.
She stated, “I gave orders to the police to set up additional patrols during the next three nights, as temperatures of -12°C have been forecast for tonight [last night], -8°C for Tuesday night through to Wednesday and finally -5°C during Wednesday night through to Thursday, and to effect administrative arrests of people wishing to sleep on the streets.” Her comments came at the very end of the City Council’s session.
The Mayor mentions that the various means to assist the homeless, may or may not include a bed, such as a heated room or bathroom installations enabling them to freshen up. They are being made available by the voluntary sector and state institutions (CPAS/Verviers City Council). She also stresses that members of the public affected by this police order are already in a precarious position, and that they cannot survive in such difficult conditions.
The Brussels Times