Aid groups shelter migrants amid calls to ‘clean up’ Brussels during far-right march
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    Aid groups shelter migrants amid calls to ‘clean up’ Brussels during far-right march

    A citizen-led migrant aid group triggered preventative measures during a far-right march in Brussels. Credit: Plateforme citoyenne de soutien aux réfugiés Bruxelles/Facebook

    A citizen-led aid group triggered special measures to protect migrants following reports that far-right demonstrators were issuing calls to “clean up” areas in Brussels where homeless migrants dwell.

    “We were informed that messages were circulating on private, far-right Facebook groups calling to ‘clean up’ northern Brussels and the Parc Maximilien,” Mehdi Kassou of the aid group said, according to BX1.

    Homeless migrants are regularly seen staying the areas around Gare du Nord and the nearby Parc Maximilien, with some sleeping there through the night.

    The messages were reportedly circulated in preparation for a far-right march in Brussels planned for Sunday but banned by local authorities.

    Migrants were therefore allowed to remain in the Porte d’Ulysse, a housing centre run by Kassou’s Plateforme Citoyenne, a citizen-based aid group offering housing and social assistance to homeless people and migrants in Brussels.

    🗣 CI-DESSOUS – MESSAGE EN TIGRINIA/ARABE/OROMO/AMHARIQUE/FARSI_DARI À ENVOYER À VOS AMI.E.S & INVITÉ.E.S ! FR :…

    Posted by Mehdi Kassou on Saturday, September 14, 2019

    The housing centre, where around 350 homeless people stay every night, usually closes its doors from between 7:00 PM and midday.

    “We have also asked hosting families to keep their guests in a safe place, as well as for the opening of the municipal and private housing centres,” Kassou added.

    Volunteer groups also toured the Parc Maximilien, near Brussels Gare du Nord, in order to find homeless migrants and “take them to a safe place,” according to a Facebook post.

    Despite the ban, dozens of demonstrators showed up to protest, and at least 43 were preventatively arrested by police zone on Sunday.

    Gabriela Galindo
    The Brussels Times