Monday, 26 January 2015
Police estimate around 250 people without papers demonstrated in Brussels between 12pm and 3pm, responding to a call from the Migrant’s Front. The organizers estimate it was around 400. The cortège left from the squat in the Boulevard Leopold III in Molenbeek-Saint-Jean and stopped at the central station. The arrest of a person at the start of the March, due to a dispute within the squat, raised tempers a little. The Migrant’s Front is made up of various groups of people without papers and others that defend their rights. It has asked the Foreigner’s Office to clarify its proposition by drawing up a document that could be accepted by the Brussels-Capitale Region.
“Two weeks ago, the Foreigner’s Office told us that visas could be given to those who get work permits in sectors that are recruiting”, said John Mbulula, Asylum and Migration coordinator (Movement against racism, Anti-Semitism and Xenophobia). “We went to see the Regional Minister for Employment, Didier Gosuin, who was receptive and said he would be happy to grant these work permits. But, he can’t base himself on declarations reported by the media. He needs federal documents so he can start dealing with the applications. We went back to the Foreigner’s Office, who simply told us they refused to grant a temporary visa without a work permit. We’re stuck in a vicious circle”.
The demonstrators are also asking for temporary work visas for members of the Ebola group, like those granted by the American government. Expats from Sierra Leon, Liberia, and Guinea were given a temporary visa that will delay their deportation until the epidemic is under control.