The migrants of the Parc Maximilien, in Brussels, are exposing rude awakenings and racketeering incidents committed by the police. These charges have been levelled at volunteers in the group “Solidarity with Gare du Nord Refugees”. Ilse Van de Keere, spokeswoman of the Bruxelles-Ixelles police zone, asserts that a judicial enquiry will be launched without delay and that Comité P has been contacted.
Françoise Romnée, a volunteer of the group, “Solidarity with Gare du Nord Refugees”, considers that these “rude awakenings” are not systematic, but they have actually happened. She explains, “Sometimes police give kick them in their sleeping bags to wake them up. There have already been beatings when waking people up. These take the form of little strikes to the head and in the back and other incidents.”
As for thefts, she reports that increasingly such complaints are being heard. She goes on, “Several refugees have come to find me saying that they had neither their money or their GSM. Eventually they told me that the police had done this. I was dumbstruck. It was a group of youngsters who were walking at 6 a.m. in the morning in the Gare du Nord area. The driver of a police van shouted to them to stop. After the search, the police kept the money. One of the youngsters said they had lost 450 euros! In the last two weeks, I have heard four similar stories…It is villainous. They know that the migrants did not wish to complain, in view of the fact that they had no papers. Their GSM is their only means to contact their families.”
The Bruxelles-Ixelles police has no knowledge of such incidents, just like the other police and court authorities contacted. Louise Weber, spokeswoman for the Brussels-North police zone, explains, “We take a global approach to security around the Gare du Nord.” She went on, “We have not seen any forced awakening, neither has any theft been indicated to us.”
The RTBF is reporting further GSM and money thefts perpetrated by police in the Antwerp region. A group of 17 migrants might have been involved.