One man has died and another was injured in a stabbing incident at the "Palais des droits" squat in the municipality of Schaerbeek on Thursday, authorities confirmed. The former office building has been occupied, mostly by asylum seekers who are said to be living in "deplorable" conditions.
The Brussels Public Prosecutor’s Office has confirmed that an asylum seeker has died and another was stabbed at the building on Rue des Palais, which is currently being occupied by 1,000 or so people. However, according to early local reports the incidents do not appear to be linked, with a doctor allegedly stating that the deceased man died of natural causes.
Throughout the year, the squat has housed hundreds of asylum seekers, including unaccompanied foreign minors, due to the ongoing crisis regarding the lack of places in Belgian asylum centres. Police were called to Rue des Palais last Friday on Christmas Eve and discovered the lifeless body of one of the building's occupants.
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It is thought that the "deplorable" living conditions in the squat might be to blame, as several asylum seekers have been diagnosed with tuberculosis, cutaneous diphtheria and there have been numerous cases of scabies with a risk of superinfection.
Furthermore, another one of the building's occupants had to be rushed to hospital the next day after being stabbed by three other people. His life is not believed to be in danger, with an investigation launched to determine the exact circumstances of the events.