Around 350 people demonstrated in front of the 127 bis detention centre in Steenokkerzeel, near Zaventem Airport, on Sunday afternoon. They chose the day to commemorate 20 years since the death of Semira Adamu, the 20-year-old Nigerian woman who was suffocated by Belgian gendarmes during the sixth attempt to deport her.
They called for all unregistered people to be made legal, deportations to stop, detention centres to be closed and the systematic condemnation of the racist, patriarchal, police and State violence.
“Since Semira’s death in 1998, the policy of detaining and exporting immigrants has actually gained momentum. We’ve lost count of the number of people who have become victims of the increasingly violent and inhumane Belgian and European (anti)immigration policies. The government criminalises immigrants via tweets and controversial statements to gain electoral support, which promotes casual racism within the population”, says the Semira Adamu Coordination 2018. The organisation is a group of collectives, associations and activists. It was behind Sunday’s event.
“Psychological and physical violence are being trivialised and surreptitiously practised during the entire detention and deportation process. These are people who are no position to report it. Belgium has inexcusably chosen to take an enormous step backwards by authorising the detention of families with children and building detention centres right next to the Airport’s runways. Enough is enough and that’s the reason we want to make ourselves heard today”, the organisation said.