Around 400 people assembled at the Carrefour de l’Europe in Brussels between 7.30pm and 9pm on Friday evening. They were protesting against the New Flemish Alliance’s “hateful and racist” policies. Home Affairs Minister Jan Jambon and State Secretary for Asylum and Immigration Theo Francken were holding a conference at the Hilton hotel, opposite Brussels central station, at the time.
This protest was organised via the Facebook group “Rien N-VA plus”. Members of associations and syndicates helped organise this banner-free protest. The younger generation were represented by Jeunes Organisés Combatif (JOC) and Ecolo J. There were also unregistered people present. The citizen platform behind the protest said a poll by the CNCD-11.11.11 network shows 81% of Belgians think it is important to support people in difficulty, such as refugees.
A few people armed with gloves and sponges started cleaning the square, in reference to the term “cleansing”. The State Secretary used it when talking about the situation at Brussels’ Maximilien Park. Other protesters, who rented a hotel room, hung an N-VA flag with Nazi connotations at a window visible from the square. The protesters criticised policies they see as Islamophobic and racist.
They also commemorated the death of Nigerian asylum seeker Sémira Adamu. Two police officers suffocated her with a cushion at Zaventem Airport on the 22nd of Septamber 1998. “These policies kill”, said Lola, one of the participants. “Jambon and Francken are celebrating what they have achieved after three years in office. But these are ultra-repressive policies, in particular when it comes to immigration”, said Hugo, another protester. “The police are doing identity checks in the next street, another sign of their desire to track unregistered people”.