Share article:
Share article:

Locals complain of chaos in Matongé quarter in Ixelles

The Matongé neighbourhood in Brussels. © Varech/Wikimedia

Local people living in the Matongé quarter of Ixelles have demanded action from the municipality of Ixelles to combat what they see as growing lawlessness in the neighbourhood.

Bruzz visited the neighbourhood, and reported drugs dealers operating openly in the shopping arcades, as well as litter, refuse and filth everywhere, including human waste.

And the disorder is not confined to the public areas. Upstairs from the main arcade that runs from Chaussée de Wavre through to Chaussée d’Ixelles are apartments, whose residents have to run the gauntlet of criminal and filth each time they enter or leave their homes.

Dealers or vagrants sometimes come here to relieve themselves,” one tenant told the reporter. It also happens that they keep their supplies here, in the living area.”

Finally, after many complaints, emails and photos sent to the commune, the councillor for public order, Nabil Messaoudi (PS) came from the town hall further up the Chaussée d’Ixelles to pay a visit, to inspect the situation for himself. He was accompanied by party colleague Bea Diallo, standing in for mayor Christos Doulkeridis (Ecolo), who was indisposed.

The commune of Ixelles is not just the local authority, it is also the owner of the public areas of the gallery, and as such, according to one apartment owner, has a responsibility to act on two fronts – as landlord and as public authority.

Around about election time everything here is spotless. But after that it goes back to being a disaster,” said Giselle Emungu. She is particularly outraged by the impunity allowed to the dealers.

What they’re doing is illegal, isn’t it? Belgium is supposed to be a country of laws, right? Why is nothing being done? I might as well have stayed in Congo.”

According to Messaoudi, solutions are not so easy to come by.

A cleaning team from the municipality comes every day at 3 pm,” he told Bruzz. They clean everything, but afterwards other activities take place here. We issue fines and have organised a clean-up campaign. But I’ve lived in Ixelles all my life, and there have always been problems here. These problems also occur in other parts of Brussels.”

Later, Doulkeridis related the age-old problem of drugs policing: the minute the police show up, the dealers vanish into the landscape. One worker arrived to install a CCTV at the entrance to the gallery and was warned by youths that they intended to smash it before he had even left.

The problem is one to be tackled at the federal level, he said.

In the meantime, he hoped to recruit the people of the area for local actions.

We want to focus on positive projects,” he said. The neighbourhood should be known for things other than the problems that exist now. We want to support the traders and create a different image of the neighbourhood. There is a budget for that, but the corona crisis has prevented us from getting started for a year.”

A response to which Giselle Emungu had a brief, withering response.

I thought they weren’t aware of what was going on here, but they are,” she said. “I just don’t understand why they don’t do something.”

Alan Hope
The Brussels Times

Latest news

Limiting private contacts ‘needed to fight autumn wave’, expert warns
The Consultative Committee announced it is introducing a handful of measures in public spaces to control the quickening spread of the coronavirus, ...
Belgian wind farm closed down to save migrants floating in sea
A wind farm near Zeebrugge had to be shut down on Wednesday morning as more than 25 migrants had been adrift in its vicinity off the Belgian coast ...
Cinemas will require Covid Safe Ticket from Friday
The Covid Safe Ticket (CST) will be required to attend cinemas across Belgium from Friday, which marks the start of the autumn holidays, the ...
UN issues strong warning ahead of climate change summit in Glasgow
New and updated climate commitments fall far short of what is needed to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement, leaving the world on track for a ...
Disastrous year for Belgian beekeepers
Belgian beekeepers have experienced a disastrous year, with honey production 50 to 60 percent lower than last year due to heavy rainfall during ...
New measures for schools considered as situation becomes ‘untenable’
Belgium's various education partners met on Wednesday to discuss additional measures to implement in schools as the coronavirus situation worsens in ...
Belgium in Brief: Back To Masks
I really hope you didn't throw out all your masks. You'll be needing them again. Now I do appreciate that this isn't a huge change for ...
Belgium a climate slowcoach as EU reveals emissions progress
The European Union is on track to pass its first big climate test, according to new figures published this week. But Belgium has been singled out for ...
Belgium’s decision on possible third shot postponed until Saturday
The decision on how Belgium will proceed with the roll-out of third shots of the coronavirus vaccine has been postponed until Saturday.  The news ...
Experts and politicians respond to new coronavirus measures
The handful of measures (re-)introduced by Belgium's Consultative Committee on Tuesday in response to the worsening coronavirus situation have had a ...
New fraudulent e-mails circulating in Belgium
A warning has been put out about new phishing e-mails that have been circulating since last Saturday and are sent from what could appear to be an ...
Belgian ‘Space Bakery’ project highlighted at World Expo in Dubai
The Puratos Space Bakery project is taking centre stage at the Belgian pavilion in Dubai, where the World Expo is taking place. This week is ...