Asylum seekers – 1,000 people debate welcoming asylum seekers in Belgium
Monday, 07 September 2015
1,000 people gathered on the square in front of Gare du Nord in Brussels on Sunday afternoon to talk about the situation of asylum seekers in Belgium. This was the first general assembly for the Civic Platform in support of refugees recently set up to organise how migrants are welcomed in Parc Maximilien.
Following a presentation of the Civic Platform and its goals, and a speech by 4 experts, participants were able join various sub-working groups to debate 12 different topics, including how to manage the camp and how to develop the solidarity movement in the future.
“We are very satisfied with the number of participants and the way the general assembly took place,” said Elodie Francart, Civic Platform spokesperson. “We aimed to create relationships between people supporting the movement and to further develop a number of initiatives.”
A small school and a legal aid service were set up this weekend in Parc Maximilien, as well as basic support services already scheduled for asylum seekers. In spite of an emergency reception centre with 500 beds opening at the WTC 3 building from Monday evening, the Platform believes there are approximately 1,000 people currently camping in the Parc, and therefore it is remaining vigilant and focussing on staying properly organised. “Authorities confirmed that the building will only be accessible in the evening and at night. People will probably need to go back to the camp during the daytime,” stated Elodie Francart.
The Platform admits to being annoyed by what it deems the laid-back attitude of authorities. In spite of declarations made to the press by Brussels Region and Brussels municipal politicians, on-site support to the organisation is lacking.